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How to Turn Bricks to Clicks: Killer Strategies for Leveraging your Physical Store & Web Stores for More Sales

If you operate both a physical shop as well as a web store you have a huge strategic advantage over people selling in just one location.  In this article we show you how to maximize it.

Consumer behaviour is in a constant state of change.  Demographics, purchasing needs and price points are just some of the factors that influence how consumers choose to research and make purchases.  Broadly, you’ll probably hear that millennials prefer to use physical stores as a ‘showrooms’ while preferring to make purchases online. Gen X’ers are the opposite, preferring to browse online but then buy in store.  People buy clothes in store, but tech online. And so it goes.    

We should address some home truths though.  While online shopping has shown consistent growth for the past decade, over 90% of all retail purchases are still made in store. Plus, more in-store shoppers purchase additional items than they do when shopping online.  That means that if you have both a physical AND online presence, you have a powerful strategic advantage over competitors offering similar services on a single channel.

The new game is not about cannibalizing your in-store revenue, or undercutting your own prices to compete with online sellers.  It’s about maximizing your leverage across both channels to greater share of wallet. Its about ensuring you’re front of mind when customers make their next purchase, whether online or in-store.

So, how can you capitalize on your multi-channel presence?

Here are six killer techniques.

#1 – Leverage Chat-to-Store Marketing

Having a special promotion or sale in store?  The key to success is ensuring sufficient awareness.  Most stores leverage print media, TV or Radio to get the news out.  The problem is, people are constantly bombarded with this kind of marketing.  

Instead, think about leveraging organic visits to your web store, Facebook page, instagram etc to capture attention.  But put a strong call to action in your message to bring them into a Messenger conversation to tell them more about the event, the deals and why they need to visit.  

Just the act of stepping through a conversation in Messenger (with the help of a bot to automate it) is more memorable than a fleeting commercial.  But go one step further. At the end of the conversation, give them an exclusive coupon, ticket or image they need to present in-store to get ‘the best’ deal.  People love exclusivity! Amplify it with Facebook Ads to a targeted audience, and its many times more effective (and cheaper) than traditional above-the-line advertising. 

#2 – Exploit Store-To-Chat Promotions

Not everyone wants to buy in-store.  They may have come in to browse for ideas, try a few things on, or just get an idea of price.  Plus, as we outlined above, many people prefer to research in a physical store but buy online. 

Make sure they leave your shop with a reason to buy from you online. 

You should build this into your in-store advertising. For example, you could have posters, flyers etc in your store that advertise exclusive online discounts.  Again though, don’t just direct them to your home page. Attract them into a Messenger conversation.

The resulting conversation will educate the customer about the deal, the benefits of owning the product, and provide that all-important feeling of exclusivity.  Having taken these steps, ask yourself how likely are they to purchase a similar product from another store when they’re seen the item in your shop, chatted about it in Messenger and then been offered your exclusive deal?

Best of all, you now have the customer in your online audience to reach out to again in the future, building you a ‘free’ audience for Strategy #1!

Technique #3 – Do More With Post-Purchase Print

Taking a sale anywhere is great.  Taking sales that lead to more sales is even better!

Think about all of the physical items that someone takes from your store that aren’t direct advertising materials. Your product packaging, shopping bags, receipts / dockets and even your price labels are open spaces ripe for engaging the customer when they get home.  

QR codes have become commonplace. Almost all smartphones have native QR scanners built-in now, yet there’s something surprisingly intriguing about them.  People love scanning them, especially if they can get access to the best deals, insider news, or exclusive early access to new releases. 

Think about how you can ‘gate’ these deals, encouraging social sharing, Facebook followers or user generated content. Do that, and you’re well on your way to exploding your online community from in-store visits!

Technique #4 – Wrap it!

Many brands wrap their delivery vehicles, and business owners often brand their cars as a ‘free source of awareness. 

Like post-purchase print materials, include a QR code in that wrap with an accompanying message that builds intrigue. For example:

“Chat with us online to get access to exclusive deals and discounts.”

Somebody who sees that may whip out their phone to scan the code. As soon as they do, Messenger opens up and you’ve started a conversation.

Have some fun with it.  Why not wrap your staff?  Get a QR printed on the back of staff shirts that says ‘scan me for the best deals’!  Apart from breaking the ice with the shop assistant, how much more memorable is that experience?  You can deliver a deal for redemption right there in-store, ask them about their visit later that day, and even educate them about your season’s offers from the comfort of their post-shopping armchair.

Technique #5 – Chat For Reviews

Reviews are the lifeblood of online sales.  But are you aware of just how much online reviews are influencing your in-store visits?  Did you know that over 50% of people say they frequently read reviews before visiting a store?  A massive 72% of people read reviews before purchasing from your online store.

Whether your customers purchase online or via your physical store, following up after purchase to get feedback leading to review is more important than ever. Quite simply there has never been a more effective way to encourage reviews than through the Messenger channel.  Whether you’re seeking ‘internal’ reviews on Shopify or ‘external’ reviews on Google, Facebook, Tripadvisor etc, your bot can get you more social proof that can lead to more in-store visits and higher online conversion.

Technique #6 – Keep Selling After Hours

Your brick & mortar stores close at night, but your online store is open 24/7.  

Make sure people know they can explore what you have to offer even when the ‘closed’ sign is hanging.  Have you thought about adding a poster to your door directing them to your site? Or better yet – a QR code to open up a chat?

What about your on-hold message?   People HATE being on hold, but they need their questions answered, so why not direct them to your chatbot?  Most customers will appreciate the option and jump straight online to talk to you. The real-time responses they get from your chatbot deliver a far better service experience than waiting on hold. Plus, they’re now in your Messenger subscribers and may be open to further offers down the line.

Just a quick note on Live Chat here.  While your chatbot can and should handle the majority of simple enquiries, it is imperative to have a real person on-hand to jump in and provide instant responses. More to the point, your live agents can answer enquiries and encourage people to visit the store for a personal experience, communicate with in-store staff to expect the visit and get the items ready for a speedy transaction. How about that for an experience?

From Physical to Messenger

The purpose of these tips isn’t to replace your brick and mortar store with online sales.

It’s to show you what’s possible if you use the physical and digital in tandem. Your physical marketing materials give you a great opportunity to pull customers into your online funnel, and visa versa.

And once they’re in your Messenger flow, you’ve opened a dialogue that can continue whether they’re in-store or not.

All you need to do now is develop a chatbot and create a chat marketing conversation flow.

If that sounds intimidating, you can rely on Beyond Points to help.

We specialise in using Facebook Messenger and chat marketing to increase retail sales. We’d love to talk about how we can help you to implement these techniques.

Schedule a strategy session via chat to get started.