How to Meld In-Store & Online Retail Strategy

It’s no secret: even retailers that skew primarily brick-and-mortar need to have some kind of online strategy these days. Chances are, your store is already equipped with a website and a few social media profiles to get the word out. But could they be driving more customers to make an actual purchase in-store?

Here are a few suggestions for connecting with your fans online in ways that boost your in-store visits–not just clicks and “likes”!

Create a 360-Degree Virtual Tour for Your Google Business Page

For the upfront cost of paying a Google certified photographer and an afternoon of time, you can create a 360-degree “Virtual Tour” online that automatically entices people to view when they search for your store location within Google search. Since we know now many people begin their in-store shopping with a search query, whether it’s to find directions or to find out more before visiting, having an easily findable Virtual Tour allows you to encourage people to follow through with an in-person visit. Choose the most colorful, inviting part of your retail space to be most inviting.

Galvanize Social Media Following by Promoting In-Store Events

Every brand and business is on social media these days, but not every business sees tangible results from their online activity. One way local stores can build on their online audience and connect online followers to the in-store purchase funnel is to promote in-store events through social media accounts. Offer an incentive and make sure to post at least a week in advance to give people time to see your posting and make plans. Once you’re conducting the event in-store, close the loop by reminding everyone to follow your social media accounts to stay up to date on store happenings.

Integrate Internal Sales Data with Online Marketing

If you’re already using social media ads to promote your store brand, it’s now possible to combine your advertising analytics with resulting in-store sales. Facebook in particular now offers the ability to “track offline conversions” if you upload relevant data from your CRM or sales accounting database. From there, they’re able to use their proprietary data to tell you just how many of your resulting sales came from customers who had seen or interacted with your online ads. Another possibility for driving brick-and-mortar visits with Facebook is to create a “Store Visits” ad, which optimizes to show only to potential customers who are already near your store.

As data and analytics-based marketing advances, we’re likely to see more and more tools pop up in the online space that can offer brick-and-mortar store retailers insight on customers as well as ways to connect online sales channels to offline ones. More location-based and offline sale integration tools will proliferate in the next few years for retailers willing to be first-adopters. Will your store be using them?