With all of the focus on driving traffic to our websites to promote e-commerce, we sometimes forget that all of these assets can be used to drive sales to a storefront as well. In fact, for those who have a physical location, your website’s main focus should be engaging your local customers, advertising what’s new, and encouraging them to stop by and see for themselves, while e-commerce is a separate business, often with a different target audience that may be located thousands of miles away.
It can be overwhelming to think about developing distinct messaging for both of these audiences, but there is enough crossover that you can use sections of your site to help stay organized and relevant.
Social Media Feeds
If you’re active in social media (and if you’re not, that’s a topic for another article!) then why not devote a small portion of your home page real estate to showing the latest posts from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. promoting in-store events, sales and new collections? This is a great way to show that your store is active and has news to share, and another medium to point qualified visitors to these sites and follow you for even more significant interaction.
A great way to segment your audience and tailor appropriate messaging is to add a few extra check boxes to your website’s account creation process. Whether you have a separate “Sign-up for Updates” section or just give visitors the opportunity to sign-up for updates when they create an account to purchase something online, think about adding the following types of options:
☐ Please send me updates on in-store events, sales, new collections and news
☐ Please send me updates about online-only promotions and when new inventory has been added to the website
☐ Please add me to the catalog mailing list (this requires additional fields to input the mailing address)
This way, as you build your contact list, you can separate the two audiences and focus on sending email communications that each market will find relevant – resulting in less unsubscribes.
“Smart” Blog Posts
Most likely, your blog post content is going to be based on trends, new collection announcements and such. If you’re featuring an item that’s available for sale online, it’s a no-brainer to include a link to that product detail page on your site. But you can also include an email link at the bottom of the post that says, “Click here to make an appointment to view this in our store,” and set it up so that the subject line references the product and the message is received by an appropriate sales associate. The easier you make it for customers to get in touch, the more likely it is that they will do so.
If a Tree Falls…
To build upon this cliché, there’s not much point in putting effort into developing distinct content for your bricks-and-mortar customers if they don’t know where to find it! Make sure your business cards and promotional materials list your website and social media URLs, and the same format should be followed for snail-mail postcards or catalogs that go out. If your POS system isn’t set up to gather customer information, leave an email list signup sheet out near the register. These efforts will not pay off overnight, but over time, they’ll build momentum and a qualified list of brand loyalists.
As more and more retailers get on the e-commerce bandwagon – a crucial step in revitalizing a business to respond to the way customers are shopping – it’s important to remember that keeping your bricks-and-mortar store thriving and successful requires digital investment as well. Your website is a fabulous tool that should be utilized by your most loyal and qualified customers – those who know you and have shopped with you face-to-face for years. Give them a reason to keep coming in by keeping them in the loop!
Allyson Bainbridge-Riccardi is a strategic branding, marketing, social media and sales consultant for the jewelry industry. After 10 years on the agency-side specializing in luxury brands, she is now focused on creating effective communications strategies for small upscale jewelry designers and independent retailers.
Photo credits: Paper Boat Creative