In the not-so-distant past, small business owners relied only on print, radio and occasionally television advertisements to drive customers into their stores for sales and special events. These types of advertisements were all one-way, meaning store owners were not expecting or providing the means for customers to respond.
Today's marketplace is a very different place thanks to the use of social media and Internet-capable cell phones. In order to stand out amongst their competitors, , businesses must learn to adapt to bi-directional marketing media, which allow people to provide feedback and engage in dialogue with store owners.
Contrary to popular belief, these types of advertising strategies are not just for ecommerce businesses, brick and mortar business owners can also utilize these strategies to foot traffic to their stores.
Below are six strategies that can be used to drive customers to your storefront. The idea behind these strategies is to grab the attention of consumers who are shopping in areas near your store location and get them to come check out what you have to offer.
1. Leverage Mobile
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Practically everyone has their phone handy, wherever they go. Studies show 83% of consumers use their mobile phones while running errands, including shopping.
This makes mobile marketing an important part of any business' advertising campaign. If you strategize appropriately, you can use mobile marketing to help grab the attention of customers who are shopping nearby.
2. Not just a website, a mobile-ready website
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Only six percent of SMBs have mobile sites, and 45 percent don't have a site at all, according to a Hibu study. Having a mobile website is important for physical store owners, especially if they want to attract consumers who are near their stores.
Among other things, your mobile website provides an easy navigation for consumers to check your store hours and any sales that may be running, while they're out and about.
A mobile website can either be a standalone website optimized for mobile experience or a responsive design which adjusts its layout based on the user interface. When consumers are accessing your site from their mobile devices, they will for sure be able to obtain information in the easier fashion.
3. Use Digital to Enhance Physical
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Don't just rely on consumers' use of technology, use it yourself. For example, have your employees use tablets in-store to showcase product details to customers, check product availability, or even as a means to check out. Your customers will be impressed with the level of customer service they receive and will likely come back.
4. Send Digital Coupons
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The effectiveness of coupons did not change just because you're working in the digital age. In fact, 80% of consumers use coupons. The only thing that has changed is the way you offer discounts.
Digital coupons are appealing to mobile phone users because they can pull them up on their phones. Many stores are able to scan or record coupons right from the mobile device's screen, so customers don't have to print the coupons out. Retailers can sign up with sites like Coupons.com to create digital coupons and offer them to consumers.
5. Invest in Retail Apps
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There are several retail apps currently on the market that can make life easier for your customers and make it more likely that they will visit your store. The best retail apps take customers' needs into account so that the app is relevant and interesting to customers. There are also retailer-oriented apps like Find&Save Storefront which enable SMBs to easily create deals and showcase to both online users and mobile consumers.
A key advantage of creating a digital storefront in a retail app is the ability to potentially leverage geo-location services to offer customer discounts. When a customer is in the proximity of your store, the mobile app could inform them of special discounts. This is most effective if it is combined with a barcode-like redemption process so consumers feel they're receiving something special (as opposed to a broad announcement) and so retailers can measure the efficacy of such campaigns.
6. SMS Signups
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Email marketing has proven to be one of the most powerful tools for getting people into your store to buy products. With an email list, you can offer exclusive discounts, provide educational information relevant to your customers' needs and build rapport with customers.
In addition to email marketing, SMS marketing has been more prolific in the past few years. A growing number of consumers, especially among Generation Y-ers and Millennials, actually prefer receiving text messages as opposed to emails. Having this capability available opens the door for more customers to reach.
The time is now.
It's important to reach out to your mobile customers and get them into your store. Digital technology influences about 36% of retail sales; 36% of customers also use their mobile phones while shopping in stores, so using mobile strategies makes it far more likely that people who are out and about will come visit your store.
Grace Chan is vice president of product management for Wanderful Media, a startup reimagining the digital circular with Find&Save. Her product development experience includes leadership roles at MerchantCircle, Yahoo! and Intel.