BUSINESS STRATEGY & GROWTH • July 9, 2015
1 minute Read
New patterns in how content is driven socially by the Internet, require changes in how your business competes. What worked for your business pre-Internet will not work anymore. Use these three strategies to help your brick-and-mortar store flourish in the digital age.
Strategy 1: The Internet is Your Marketing Ally
80% of U.S. retail sales will still occur in physical stores in 2020. But the research which helps consumers decide which brick-and-mortar provider to choose will be conducted almost exclusively online.
Your digital presence is now a predictor for your success. For small business owners, it’s an opportunity—the Internet offers a marketing platform unlike anything traditional methods can match: affordable, accessible, customizable and scalable.
Where to start? An easy-to-use mobile optimized website that clearly presents your offers, business information and calls-to-action (newsletter and sign-up options). Mobile optimization, or mobile friendly, is critical. Search engines are now giving higher rankings to those businesses that are mobile friendly, and more and more shoppers are using mobile devices to research purchases.
Of course, if your goal is for consumers to find you online, the more information Google has about your business, the better. Claim your local business page on Google+ to improve your search results. Additionally, content marketing and social media will get Internet eyes on your business. Useful information presented in a narrative structure can help you get customer attention, regardless of search engine algorithms.
Strategy 2: Invest in Building the Ideal Customer Experience
As a brick-and-mortar business, you have the ability to offer what no website can—the opportunity to experience your product and brand live: the chance to strum that guitar, try on the clothes, listen to the band or sip the coffee. It’s true that the best brick-and-mortar marketing experience mimics digital in terms of convenience, ease of use and options. It also, however, provides tangible experiences that can’t be duplicated online.
To prevent showrooming (in which customers try your product in the store, then going home to order online), provide incentives for in-store purchasing: free delivery or set-up, a bonus coupon, membership, extended warranty, etc. Don’t overlook the power of a great customer experience. A warm smile and good conversation go a long way.
Strategy 3: Invoke the Power of Real Expertise
There will always be a segment of your consumer base that prefers in-person consultation. Lucky for you, you’re already an expert in what you offer. Train your employees and promote their collective and individual expertise available only in your store.
Build events and services that promote face-to-face expert access: concierge service, hands-on demonstrations, workshops, consultations and troubleshooting. Use content marketing to help digital pre-shoppers see how much value they’ll find in store: test it, try it, talk with an expert, take it home today.
Digital isn’t a trend to fight but a tool to use; use it well, and it can make your business even better.
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