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4 Digital tools you can use to drive foot traffic to your retail store


Online tools and digital channels have gotten a bad rep in the brick and mortar realm. With the continued growth of mobile shopping and ecommerce, many merchants are wary that consumers will choose to shop online over making trips to the store.

While it’s easy to make this assumption, the fact remains that physical retail is alive and well. Yes, ecommerce is growing, but the majority of all retail sales — around 90% — still take place offline.

Instead of bemoaning the growth of online and mobile shopping, it’s better to embrace the various digital tools in the market and use it to your advantage.

In this post, we’ll shed light on what these tools are and how you can leverage them to increase traffic in your physical stores.

Your ecommerce site

If you aren’t selling online yet, it’s high time to do so. Having a website not only enables to sell 24/7 , but it can also help you drive traffic to your physical store.

How? For starters, clearly display your store’s address and contact details to make it easy for potential visitors to find you.

You should also use your website to market any products or promotions that you have going on in-store. We Built This City, a shop that sells the creations of London artists, does a great job here.

On their homepage, they have an attractive slideshow that showcases their new arrivals and featured artists. They even have a special slide encouraging customers to visit their store.

driving traffic

You can also take things a step further by offering a service like click-and-collect, which encourages customers to visit your store to pick up their merchandise. Doing so not only gets people through your doors, it can also generate sales.

Research from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found that 69% of shoppers who visit a store to pick up their orders end up buying additional items.

Google My Business

Google can be a goldmine for foot traffic, as it’s one of the first websites that consumers visit when they’re searching for products or businesses in their vicinity.

Research shows that 46% of all searches on Google are local — and that number is growing. According to the search giant, “near me” searches on mobile have grown 500% over the last few years.

driving traffic

The numbers are even more impressive among mobile users. According to Google, 88% of people who conduct a local search on their phone visit a related store within a week.

driving traffic

There is obviously a correlation between mobile searches and retail traffic. As such, you should ensure that consumers find you when they search for your store or products on Google.

To do that, you need to set up — and optimise — your Google My Business Listing. If you haven’t done so yet, head on to google.com/business then follow the instructions to get your listing up and running.

This next step is very important: once you have your Google My Business listing, you need to optimise and make it as attractive to users as possible. Complete your profile and add as many details as you can. Don’t just fill out your basic contact details and call it a day.

Instead, fill out as many fields as possible, then upload several photos of your business. Check out the Google listing of Watershed, a sporting goods store in Newquay.

driving traffic

In addition to having complete contact details, the retailer has uploaded multiple photos that showcase Watershed’s storefront, interiors, and products.

driving traffic

Not only that but the store has several positive reviews on Google, making the listing even more appealing.

Try to get your Google profile to this level. Set up your Google My Business listing and beef it up by adding lots of information, uploading high-quality photos, and encouraging user reviews.

Instagram

Of course, Google isn’t the only thing that people are tinkering with on their smartphones. In retail, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are playing increasingly important roles in people’s shopping journeys.

Industry data shows that modern consumers — particularly Gen Z shoppers ages 18 to 23

— find new products and brands on social platforms. According to a survey by VisSenze, 60% of Gen Z shoppers said that they frequently discover new products on social.

For this reason, it’s essential that you invest the time in improving your presence on social media – particularly on image-centric platforms like Instagram.

An excellent example of Instagram marketing done right comes from Cositas, a home furnishings and giftware shop in St Albans. Aside from frequently posting amazing content, Cositas has “shoppable” posts on Instagram, which enable users to quickly check out what products they have on sale.

When someone comes across an item they like on Cositas’ Instagram page, they can view its product page and purchase it without leaving the app. In doing so, Cositas have opened up a new sales channel without complicating the shopping experience.

   

You may want to consider doing something similar with your Instagram efforts. Follow in Cositas’ footsteps and serve your mobile customers better by allowing them to shop on the platforms they’re already using.

SMS

SMS marketing is on the rise, and for good reason — the open and engagement rates for text messages are off the charts. Research from Gartner found that text message open rates can go up as high as 98% and according to Forbes, millennials prefer text messages when it comes to mass messaging.

It’s safe to say that SMS isn’t going away anytime soon, which is why the platform is worth exploring. If it makes sense for your business, find ways to use text messaging to connect with your customers.

This can be as simple as sending an in-store offer via text to encourage your customers to pay you a visit. Here’s a great example of this tip in action:

Consider doing something similar in your business. Give SMS marketing a try and see how your customers respond.

Final words

Part of achieving retail success lies in how well you adapt. And in today’s market, doing this requires wising up on the modern tools and channels that your customers are using. We hope this post gives you some ideas on how you can leverage today’s top digital tools in your business.

Good luck!

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