In 2018, there are many different ways to get your customers’ attention. And if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, that means that you have lots of ways, both online and off, and to put your business on the map. It’s all about finding creative ways to get interest and understanding that in today’s modern world, people are going to find you both by walking by a great window display and by Googling the products you sell. Whether you’re in the fashion industry or running a restaurant, once you understand your customers’ needs and preferences, you can make great headway in marketing your brick-and-mortar store.
So if you want to take advantage of using the fact that you have both an online and offline presence, here are the best ways to get as many customers as possible walking through your door.
Match your online and offline aesthetic
One of the most important things when it comes to branding is having an aesthetic that appears in anything related to your business. The same color scheme, photographs, and font should appear on your main site, social media profiles, and email newsletters. But it doesn’t stop there. Your online look should also be part of what’s going on offline. So if you have a huge sign above your store or feather flags, the experience needs to be the same for someone walking into your store as someone reading a blog post.
The same goes for merch and interior decorations. One great example of this is Paradise Palms, an Edinburgh-based store and restaurant. If you take a look at their website here, and then walk into their store, they have a big neon sign that looks the same, and coasters and postcards that match. (You can send the postcards, so it’s free swag!) Considering that 51 percent of Americans prefer to shop online, you need to give customers a reason to come in; making it an exciting experience goes a long way.
Be available 24/7–and master social media
If you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, that means that you’re going to have hours when you aren’t open. But that’s never an excuse, especially with younger customers like millennials and Gen Zers, to not be available all the time. We aren’t saying that you specifically have to be available all the time, but having an on-call team or at least using chatbots to make your life a little easier. According to Vend,
“In 2017, the retail giant had robots in about 20 percent of its fulfillment centers, and we anticipate this number to grow. As more consumers embrace instant messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, we can expect retailers to use these platforms to talk to customers and streamline communications. For instance, if a shopper wants to track their order, they can ‘ask’ the retailer on Messenger, and a chatbot can automatically retrieve the shipment information.”
That way, if you have a loyal customer who usually comes into your store, but suddenly needs something available the next day, they can still rely on you–which means they’ll stay loyal. For this same reason, you also want to focus on your social media presence. Being a brick-and-mortar store means that your efforts have to equally go into having a great storefront and sales associates alongside a powerful social media presence.
First, create a social media profile so that all your bases are covered. Get on Instagram, create an Instagram for business profile, and start engaging with professionals in your industry as well as your customers. Create an aesthetic that matches all your other branding (and choose only one filter to use for all photos), and remember that Instagram is huge these days, especially for retailers who can show off their products when customers are doing the digital version of window shopping.
And don’t forget about the importance of Local SEO! This makes a huge difference to any brick-and-mortar based store and will make customers way more interested in your business than a competitor.
Use big data to your advantage
Finally, if you’re a retailer in today’s world, it means that you’ll have way more access to data about your customers than ever. By having content online, you can use analytics to learn what products are most popular, as well as demographic details about your customers. If you’re able to get fancy, you can even use AI in your store to gather information about physical visitors, too. Chances are it’ll be possible for most retailers eventually, considering that the big data market size is forecast to reach $92,2 billion by 2026.
These are some of the best ways for you to gather information about your customers, and then market yourself to them. What other strategies do you find to be effective?