The world of brick and mortar retail stores is not dead. In fact, having a physical location comes with a lot of perks that e-commerce sites simply cannot compete with. So, as many sites grow in popularity, it becomes financially tempting for companies to open up a physical store to sell their products to a local market and grow their business.
Thus, a problem arises: how can you market both sides of your business without them crippling each other? To pull it off, you have to combine the two storefronts into a singular marketing strategy and get customers to use both in their shopping experiences.
Matching the Brands
Your online shop and physical shop need to provide similar shopping experiences, and that starts with your branding. Your website needs to feel like your physical store and vice versa.
Everything about your storefront impacts your brand, from wall and flooring colors to what kind of building your store is in. For example, a steel building for a store can give a rustic theme to a store, while red brick can give an urban one. As you make choices on a physical store, try to thematically match as many things as you can to the brand of your online store.
As people compare your e-commerce to the retail experience, it should feel coherent. They should share things like color schemes, use the same language in marketing materials, and feature the same lines of products. Customers should be able to transition between the physical store and the website with zero confusion.
Combining the Benefits of Both Storefronts
There are clear benefits for shopping online and going to a store. Purchasing online lets consumers shop from the comfort of their own home and easily compare prices of similar products. Going to a store lets customers get a better feel for the product they are buying, and they don’t have to wait for their purchases to ship.
For example, if people buy products on your website and live near your store, give them the option to pick it up in-store instead of having to wait for delivery. Or if they are in the store and an item is out of stock, offer to have it delivered directly to them so they don’t have to come back to the store.
These types of benefits can ensure that people utilize both your online store and physical location to their fullest. Offering extra conveniences to shoppers can create long-term customers and could be the factor for people choosing your business over competitors.
Creating a Local Presence
Unless you have already created a strong local awareness with your products, you are going to need some local marketing. Do whatever you can to get your name and brand out there.
A good starting point is becoming a part of local events. This can include becoming a sponsor for a charity event, having a booth at a farmer’s market, or even hosting an event meant to attract your target market.
Getting involved in social media on a local level is another tactic to getting noticed. That means engaging in conversations on local topics and connecting with local people and organizations.
Branded Apps and the In-Store Experience
If you have a lot of repeat customers, creating an app for your business could be really useful for both tracking and engaging with them.
A prime example of a retail store utilizing an app with their physical locations is Target. By putting all of their coupons on their app and attaching them to an account, they can track their customer’s buying patterns, alert them to deals that might interest them, and even track where customer go within their stores.
A good tactic is to connect your mobile app to a rewards or a customer loyalty program. That way, people can earn rewards by shopping directly on your app or by making purchases in store.
Not only could this help retain customers, it can provide valuable data on how to improve your store. If you want to know where to place items to improve sales, do what Target did. Offer free Wi-Fi and then track the locations of people in your store to identify hot selling spots. Got a surplus of products and you can’t fit it all in the store? Have advertisements in the store for people to see more options by checking out your app.
Keeping Your Marketing Strategies Strong
As you work on opening and marketing the physical store, don’t let your other promotions — especially ecommerce-specific content marketing efforts — fall to the wayside. Whether you need to do work ahead of time and schedule it out or get more employees to work on it, be sure your strategy is consistent. Especially at the start, it will be difficult to make a profit off of the retail store, so you need your e-commerce sales to hold strong.
As you start marketing your brick and mortar store, make sure your marketing strategies benefit both of your storefronts and capitalize on your customer base in anyway you can. Most e-commerce sites don’t have the same advantages you do with being able to engage with a local audience, so use that to it’s fullest. Find the advantages of both worlds and revolve entire marketing campaigns around them.