How to get more shoppers to buy in-store

Social media columnist
Social media columnist
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While Britain is often described as a “nation of shopkeepers”, finding ways to get more shoppers to buy in your store instead of online can be challenging. This week I thought I’d provide some examples of how you can bring an in-store shopping revival to life with some thought, study, planning and action.

USE EMAIL MARKETING

Take a leaf out of the big retailers’ book and use your online website, point of sale, and in-store promotions to collect customer information so that you can market to them via email. Email is still the best way to engage with shoppers, offering them special in-store only discounts, as well as product education based on information that you collect from them. All the big retailers are doing it effectively, so why not follow their example?

PROVIDE ONLINE PRODUCT EDUCATION

Shoppers typically come armed with a lot of previously learned product knowledge before they walk into a store. Ensure that you are part of the way that they learned by providing online articles, blog posts, social media communication and interaction, so that you control the education your audience receives.

CREATE AN IN-STORE LOYALTY PROGRAMME

Your shoppers do not need to carry annoying discount cards around for you to provide an excellent in-store shopper’s loyalty programme. In the USA, Sears offers the ability for shoppers to gather points by just giving their email address at point of checkout, or online, every time they make a purchase. Give additional points for shopping in store, or using in-store pickup services.

PROVIDE EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Nothing can beat a fabulous, personalised customer service. One of the biggest complaints consumers have about their shopping experiences is lack of customer service. Most shoppers will pay slightly more for a great customer care experience in the store over feeling non-existent when purchasing online.

EMBRACE THE RAPID EXPANSION OF MOBILES

It’s just a fact that mobile devices, along with easy internet access, make it possible for your customers to come into your store, browse the merchandise, then research other places to buy the same stuff. Instead of fighting it, make it easy. The first step is to make sure you are listed on Google Places so that you appear with a map pin in local searches. You could also offer free Wi-Fi, or become a resource to your store visitors with QR codes near products that will take them to online research. Many times, price isn’t the biggest stumbling block; its access and information.

OFFER FREE DELIVERY OR CLICK AND COLLECT

Many purchases are lost due to the dreaded delivery cost. This is especially true of larger purchases. While most products ordered online, rather than purchased in store, are smaller, it’s becoming more common to order larger purchases as well. You can combat that by making it very easy for your customers to get the item to their home after their visit as inexpensively as possible.

MAKE YOUR STORE AN ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION

Many people shop only because they need something, but other people also shop for entertainment. This can help you bring more people into your shop. For instance, if you cater to women, do you have a place for the husbands or fathers to sit down and enjoy themselves or a place for children to play safely?

GENERATE IN-STORE AMBIENCE

Make displays attractive, the lighting more pleasant and bring back beautiful window displays. Make your store into an array of attractive looking “shops” and sections to make the entire shopping experience feel like an art exhibit. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling clothing, furniture, electronics or groceries, making the experience a beautiful one will bring people in and then back again if you keep changing your display.

Research your customers and use the data gathered to determine what will work best for you to bring people back into your store to shop in person. It might be offering personal shoppers, it might be a matter of seating for companion shoppers, or it might be a matter of product education along with a knowledgeable staff. Whatever it is, you need to do it to bring customers into your shop again and again.

BREAKING NEWS

Facebook Expands User Control Over Ad Preferences and Combats Ad-Blocking: In addition to developing new ad formats “that complement, rather than detract from, people’s experience online,” Facebook expanded its Ad Preference tools “to give people even more control over… the ads they see” in their news feed.

Facebook Rolls Out New Publisher Tools for 360 Video: Facebook is introducing two new tools for publishers of 360 video on Facebook. These include Guide, “a new way to give your viewers a guided tour of your 360 video as it plays” and Heatmap, “a visual insights tool that shows you which portions of a 360 video’s field of view your audience is spending the most time watching.”

Facebook Allows Users to Enlarge Any Emoji in Messenger: Facebook announced that users can now “enlarge and send ANY emoji in a Messenger conversation.” This feature is currently available on iOS, and Android and web versions will be coming soon.

LinkedIn Introduces Videos from LinkedIn Influencers: LinkedIn announced that your “LinkedIn Feed will come to life in a whole new way with the introduction of 30-second videos from LinkedIn Influencers.”

Pinterest Kicks off Webinar Series on Pinterest Ads: Pinterest for Business launched a new webinar series “to show how Pinterest Ads can help entrepreneurial businesses and marketers reach their business goals.”

Instagram Adopts Algorithm and Facebook Data to Sort Instagram Stories: Last week, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, a new feature that allows users to “share multiple photos and videos… in a slideshow format.”

Snapchat Is Letting More Brands Run Ads Between Friends’ Stories: Earlier this year, Snapchat successfully launched a native video ad format, which allows ads to appear between friends’ snaps and stories.

Twitter Expands Access to Moments: Twitter announced that “a broader group of creators will be making Moments, including influencers, partners, brands… and in the coming months, everyone.”

Twitter Announces a New Twitter Ads Manager: Twitter is gradually rolling out a new Twitter Ads Manager “to all advertisers globally in a public beta over the coming months.”