Throughout the years, digitalization of the retail world has simplified the journey of buying items where most individuals make use of the internet to explore before coming to a purchase decision. Besides, online purchases are now a familiarity and online-to-offline e-commerce was the secret to success for many retailers these days. The pandemic drove more people online, but for those who still prefer in-store experiences, merchants needed to improve their online-to-offline (O2O) strategies to welcome customers. This is also a new retail technique that converts online traffic into in-store purchases. In the future, even after the COVID-19 epidemic is over, its effectiveness is unlikely to wane.
Consumers often first discover a company through its marketing efforts, whether through sponsored content on social media or print ads for particular products. Adding to that, reaching target customers both online and offline is critical to a brand's success today. If these tactics aren't linked, the messaging at various touch points can become diluted and inconsistent, confusing customers rather than enticing them to know more about the company's services, let alone make a purchase.
In order to complement both online and offline activities for success, let’s take a look at five strategies retailers can practice to win customers’ hearts.
- Formulate a cross-promotion strategy
- Go omnichannel to meet consumer needs
- Bring online traffic to offline traffic
- Ensure consistency in your brand
- Consider investing in local SEO
1. FORMULATE A CROSS-PROMOTION STRATEGY
To advertise your company, you can utilize both offline and internet marketing strategies. You can use online tactics to promote offline marketing products. For example, if you're planning a large television commercial for a particular season or event, you use this social media to increase your offline reach. To promote excitement, you might use a countdown, preview, or banner ad on your website and social media channels. Similarly, you can employ creatives for your offline channels, such as print ads and collateral, to urge your consumers to visit an optimized landing page to capture their contact information for future follow-ups. Then offer something of value, such as a free ebook, white paper, or guide, to boost your results.
Other than that, rather than siloing online and offline marketing platforms, employ them in concert. You can achieve this by promoting offline products using internet media and vice versa. Let's say you're releasing a new item and want to raise awareness by arranging an offline function where people can check it out for free. It's a common practice among restaurants and food and beverage enterprises to give customers a sample of their new items. You can inform your social media followers about this and start promoting your store. This has the potential to boost event attendance and customers’ overall engagement.
2. GO OMNICHANNEL TO MEET CONSUMER NEEDS
In general, retailers can increase its customer base with an O2O commerce approach than they can with a walk-in strategy. Not everyone who passes by your physical locations will stop in when they have the opportunity. The vast majority of shoppers use the internet to study new products as well as using social media platforms to assist them in making purchasing decisions. According to Forbes, modern consumers generally use two or more devices when making a purchase.
Most companies, when they find one channel which is trending at the moment, they tend to tap into that specific channel and put all their marketing efforts in, but it can be quite hazardous. For businesses to properly implement these omnichannel strategies, they need to pay attention to all channels and respond to the inclination of their consumers. In addition, going omnichannel adds even more value because it increases the quantity of data available to merchants and allows them to gain greater insight into their customer base.
Now, let's imagine you're a shop and you know from one of your channels and internet data that "Shopper X" looks for sports clothes gear in the morning and again in the evening on a specific day. By combining this information with offline data, you can begin to create a more detailed profile: a professional who enjoys sports and is between the ages of 25 and 35 attends sports centers on weekends. With this data in hand, you can now participate in some smart advertising, such as giving Shopper X personalized brand portfolio on an internet-connected gadget when he visits your competitors' stores.
3. BRING ONLINE TRAFFIC TO OFFLINE TRAFFIC
Taking full advantage of O2O conversion tracking and traffic, businesses should consider customers as multidimensional individuals and work to develop a unified view of them across CRM, DMP, and digital platforms. On top of traditional sources, they should stack as many information sources as possible. Aside from being introduced to a brand or product online, there's a lot more to the consumer journey. Consumers are continuously moving around the real and digital worlds – knowledge about how they engage with the environment, from what they see on screen towards where they shop to their brand preferences, may help brands better understand their customers.
Moreover, businesses may then 'pull the correct levers' to create the optimum consumer experience within their physical locations after they have the right data and insight across their online and offline worlds. For instance, asking questions like – which internet ads, for example, attract the most foot traffic to the stores? Which product is often explored online before being purchased offline – and hence requires actual stocking in stores? Businesses can later evaluate each ad type, evaluate the impact of alternative placements and creativity, and learn how particular audience segments responded, thus bringing them to your offline stores.
4. ENSURE CONSISTENCY IN YOUR BRAND
According to marketing managers, a consistent brand message will go a long way towards connecting you with your intended audience. When you consistently communicate to consumers about your brand message, it makes your marketing become extra reliable and potentially more convincing which in return will drive positive results.
Going offline, your business signage should be consistent with the design and theme of your website and social media pages. Customers may become perplexed if there is a gap between what they see online and what they see in person. The same thing goes to applying things online. Customers should notice uniformity across all of your digital content, from the corporate website to social media pages.
Furthermore, some branding modifications are unavoidable, especially if your business has been established for a long time. Once it comes to branding, adjustments should be made gradually and prudently. Changes in your online or offline branding can take your clients off guard and leave them perplexed. Should you need to renew or update anything, the first step is to notify your consumers and explain why these changes are being made. Even better, engage your customers and ask their input to turn them into active players.
5. CONSIDER INVESTING IN LOCAL SEO
Despite going into the modern world, offline SEO is still a bit of a mystery for many businesses. Many people make the mistake of ignoring SEO in their offline marketing because they believe it has no bearing on their online results. It's apparent that internet SEO is working when consumers find a company through keyword research.
Consumers approach physical establishments with confidence based on user ratings, social proof, and a strong online presence, resulting in heightened expectations for offline encounters. Companies must guarantee that their physical service is consumer-centric, much as SEO must appeal to people rather than machines. It should be reflective of your online SEO, enhancing the value, importance and connections that your digital marketing has established.
In SH Retail Academy, we combine application successes that are time-proven from Senheng with the latest knowledge and concepts to bring effective retail industry training programs for SMEs in Malaysia. Beginning from the formulation of our training program outlines, content and delivery methods; each process is derived using retail thought process and retail needs. Should you need any assistance, be it offline or online, we’ve got you covered with more valuable tools.
Find out more and kick start your journey today by reaching out to us here.