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Can Omnichannel Marketing Save Brick and Mortar Retail?

Written by Leslie Nienaber Content Manager

Omnichannel Marketing and Retail Shopping Habits Boosting Retail Sales

How many times have you thought about visiting a store ten minutes away, only to resort to just ordering what you wanted online? Thanks to Amazon Prime, as well as an influx of online stores offering free shipping, it is becoming more tempting than ever to make purchases in the comfort of our homes. Brick and mortar retailers are realizing that they must find ways to adapt to these changes in purchasing behavior, or pack up for good.

The good news is that adapting an omnichannel approach to marketing—which includes mobile apps, direct mail, websites, email, in-store, and more—is boosting retail sales. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, 73% of shoppers mix online and brick and mortar while shopping and spend an average of 4% more when they do so. When customers used more than four channels, they spent an average of 9% more. Omnichannel marketing is effective because it casts a wider fishing net, all while giving customers the personalization and easy access to information that they crave.

Not every retail store has the ability to create a mobile app, flawless digital catalog or interactive website, but there are certain elements to omnichannel marketing that most stores can achieve, or at least work towards.

Inventory is Key

Keeping accurate inventory for every retail location and making it easily accessible online is one of the most important things brick and mortar stores can do to drive in-person shopping. Despite free online shipping, many customers do not have the patience or time to wait for a purchase to arrive. If they see that a shirt in their size is available at the store down the road, they’re likely to jump in their car and head over. As soon as they arrive at the store, the odds of impulse buys or upsells increase. This is further enhanced when showrooms are planned in a way that pairs commonly-bought items together, or when sales associates have the opportunity to recommend products to make a purchase more personalized.

Utilize Social Media

Social media is a powerful component of omnichannel marketing, and it’s a relatively inexpensive one to use. Creating ads for specific demographics, promoting flash sales or even creating a hashtag campaign are effective ways to increase customer reach and drive them to a store or website. More options are becoming available for companies that don’t have websites but are still seeking small but mighty ecommerce solutions. One example is Inselly, an Instagram marketplace where products posted on the social media page can turn into purchasable items with the use of an #inselly hashtag and a quick account setup. Boosting reach through digital channels packs a powerful punch: 69% of customers check a company website before they go into a store, and 36% use devices during in-store shopping.

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Data Unlocks Personalization Opportunities

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – you can run from data, but you can’t hide! Consumers crave personalized experiences, but that personalization isn’t possible without regular, accurate data. This data feeds into every aspect of omnichannel marketing, from crafting customized emails all the way to determining which sales have the best performance.

Consumers are overloaded with information and opportunities, with thousands of sites to choose from to buy what boils down to the same types of products. What stands between their loyalty to a brick and mortar store and an online website is their perception of how well a company knows their lifestyle, wants and needs. Brick and mortar retailers have the opportunity to satisfy that level of personalization by consistently analyzing their data to determine the demographics of their top customers, identifying spending habits, and rewarding loyal customers with in-store incentives that cater to their interests. Most importantly, this isn’t something that can be done once or twice a year and then forgotten about – a retailer must be dedicated to regularly pulling and analyzing data to keep up with online retailers, and they must do it in a way that ensures accuracy. The more channels a brick and mortar store has, the more opportunities there are to gather valuable data.

Make the Experience Fun

Brick and mortar stores will always be able to provide something that online-only retailers can’t: the opportunity to turn a purchase into an actual experience. After all, the ability to let customers touch a fabric or try a television out in-store is the best way for them to determine quality. Pair that with an inviting atmosphere and special in-store workshops or events, and suddenly the generic one-click-and-you’re-done approach to online shopping pales in comparison. Despite more and more of our lives spent online, the need for interaction and tangible experiences hasn’t gone away. Brick and mortar retailers can use this to their advantage by using several marketing channels to drive customers to the store for one-on-one consultations, early product launch parties, demos, and more. The key is to stop viewing brick and mortar stores as a place for only making purchases, and instead view them as a place for experiences.

Make Your Customer Experience Shine

To ensure excellent customer experience, you must begin with clean, complete client and prospect data.  Use our data experts to help you develop your list to support your online efforts.  Once you get your direct marketing projects rolling and are collecting a lot of social media information, ask our experts how to convert that into actionable information. The top-performing brick and mortar stores will survive in the world of online retail by rethinking how customers are reached, how valued they feel, and how enjoyable their experiences are. It all starts with getting your data in shape and getting those direct marketing projects rolling – contact our team

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