If you’re a high street retailer trying to corral deal-hungry bargain hunters into your physical store, the prospect of eCommerce may make you a little nervous. After all, shoppers are spending more and more of their time tethered to their mobile devices, and according to Salesforce, shopping is the number one non-work related activity for which we use our smartphones.
Towards the end of 2019, eCommerce sales accounted for over 20% of overall retail sales. But high street retailers shouldn’t fear the digital world — they should embrace it. As well as marketing themselves on social channels, nurturing their online presence and improving SEO, they should also consider...
Offering a blended approach to commerce
Incorporating eCommerce sales into your current business model can be a great way to increase your brand’s visibility. By leveraging SEO practices, you can increase the chances of local search engine users choosing your store over your competitors’.
Moreover, you can appeal to mobile users in those intent-rich micro moments when they’re looking for products just like yours in your area. This can see your local foot traffic soar.
Don’t want to incur shipping and handling charges? You don’t necessarily have to. Many high street retailers allow customers to purchase or reserve products through their eCommerce and collect in their physical store. Once customers are through your doors, they may see other products that appeal to them, or you may identify upselling opportunities at the point of sale.
Your website is also a great place to showcase your products with high-quality images, so customers can have a good idea of what to expect before they even venture in store. When your online store is responsive (i.e. mobile optimised), shoppers can simply enter your store, show a member of staff a picture of what they want on their mobile device, and get directed to it straight away.
Sounds like a pretty satisfying customer experience!
However, even if you’re adamant that you don’t want to use eCommerce, there are plenty of ways in which you can entice smartphone users and compete with online competitors.
Suggested reading: Want to learn how to improve customer experience in eCommerce? Read our blog '5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience in eCommerce'.
Use unique single-use promotional codes to entice shoppers into stores
There’s no denying the allure of online retail in the winter months. When the weather is cold and the traffic is dense, shoppers will often look for bargains online before they chance strolling down the high street. That said, never underestimate the power of a great bargain to motivate uncertain shoppers.
Even if you’re not using eCommerce, you should still use your website to raise brand awareness, build value through content marketing, and encourage users to subscribe to your email list to get unique offers and discounts direct to their inboxes.
Emailing out promotional discount codes is a great way to entice shoppers to brave the cold and visit your store. However, promo codes can also become subject to misuse and put a serious dent in your profit margins, even if they do increase your foot traffic. That’s why the software to create unique single-use promo codes is such a worthy investment. It allows you to deliver unique and targeted deals without the risks usually inherent in promo code use. Because they’re unique and can only be used once, you can rest assured that customers won’t be able to abuse them.
The power of personalisation
While all unique promotional codes can be useful, it’s worth noting that today’s shoppers not only value personalisation, they expect it. If you want to engage shoppers who haven’t interacted with you in some time, you’ll find that they are more likely to engage with offers that are unique to them. In fact, 48% of customers spend more when their experience is personalised, and 79% of shoppers are only interested in discounts offered if they’re based on their previous interactions with the brand.
When you offer personalised discounts to shoppers you can add real value to your brand and increase the likelihood of them visiting you regularly. And with the right software, creating, sending and redeeming discount codes is all automated, saving you precious time and effort.
Use scarcity marketing techniques to get shoppers off the couch
Even with access to some tasty discounts, some shoppers won’t brave the cold today if there’s a chance of fairer weather tomorrow. Scarcity marketing techniques can remind them that they don’t have all the time in the world if they want to secure the best bargains.
Scarcity marketing techniques might include promotional codes that need to be redeemed in store within a specific time period. You can even create promotional codes that expire in as little as an hour to lure eagle-eyed social media followers through your doors quickly.
Another useful tool is diminishing discounts. These might get smaller over time so that latecomers might get a 10% discount at your store… but the early birds who acted on the promotion first get a more generous discount of 20 or 30%.
Scarcity marketing is a great way to encourage shoppers to stop dragging their feet and take advantage of some irresistibly discounted prices on your great products. And when they arrive at your store already impressed by what you’ve done for them, they’ll be more likely to see what other discounts are waiting for them on your shelves.
Use in-store QR codes that gamify bargain hunting
One thing that brick and mortar retailers will always have over their online counterparts is the ability to deliver a memorable customer experience. Many people go shopping on the high street because they find the experience enjoyable. Gamification can improve eCommerce customer experience.
For example, you might want to make it known on your social channels that you’ll be displaying several QR codes at key locations around your store. When scanned, each one will reveal its own unique discount. Customers will then wander through your shop trying to find the discounts that will lead them to fantastic bargains.
It’s a fun idea that can generate real value in your brand and help you to stand out among your competitors at a historically busy time.
Give customers a reason to bring their friends next time
Every customer is also a potential influencer. Many businesses use unique promotional codes not just to target well-known social media influencers but also to transform their customers into “micro-influencers”. The Uber model is a good example of this in action. You give your customers a unique promo code to give their friends, family and work colleagues. When your customers’ contacts use that code, not only do they get an attractive discount, the parties referring them get money off their next purchase, too.
With a little daring and imagination, there are all kinds of ways in which high street retailers can leverage their online presence and promotional codes to get mobile users through their doors and keep them coming back.
Which strategies will you use to get more shoppers to your stores?