The internet has massively increased the amount of customers retailers can reach, even within the local area of their store. Retailers don’t have to have an online shop to increase sales using the internet, there are many ways they can encourage and entice customers to their high street store by utilising a website and other online platforms. Here, we explore five ways that retailers can do just that:
1. Make it easy to visit your store
It’s no surprise that the internet has changed the retail space and has made attracting and keeping customers more competitive. In this digital age customers expect to find business and product information at the touch of a button. Therefore, make it easy for customers to visit your store by clearly showing your location and opening times on your website. Thanks to Google, some customers might not even get as far as clicking through to your website preferring to find a shop’s opening times directly under their search instead. Make sure you submit and verify your business’s opening hours, phone number and directions on Apple Maps, Bing Maps and Google My Business so you can appear in these searches. It’s also worth taking a look at local SEO so you can put maximum effort into appearing in local searches, for example ‘bookshop near me’ or ‘shoe shop in Manchester’ and with nearly one third of all mobile searches on Google being related to location it could increase footfall into your store.
Can customers find your address and opening times on your website?
Submit your business to Apple Maps, Bing Maps and Google My Business
Research local SEO
2. Entice customers to your store by talking to them online
Talking to your customers online can go a long way when trying to entice them to your high street store. Firstly, even just by creating a welcoming FAQ page on your website where you can resolve common queries can help, for example a hairdressers could tell customers whether they can walk in or if they need to book an appointment. Creating a social media presence could also provide you with a platform to answer any questions or queries quickly and many customers are now favouring using Facebook or Twitter over email or contact forms. You can also use these platforms to run promotions that encourage customers to visit your store. For example, you could offer an in-store voucher to your email database or arrange a promotional event, such as a bookshop organising a book signing, which can be promoted across online platforms.
Create a FAQ page for your website
What promotions could you offer?
3. Showcase reviews and testimonials
A recent BrightLocal Consumer Review reported that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, showcasing just how important testimonials now are. Your website can be a perfect platform to showcase your business reviews and testimonials. Start by setting up an area, either dedicating a whole page or section, or adding a rotating banner in the website footer where you can showcase what people are saying about your business. This will actively put reasons why customers should visit your store in front of anyone visiting your site. Just remember to make sure that you keep encouraging your customers to leave reviews (there are some third parties which can help you with this such as Feefo) so you can showcase up-to-date testimonials.
Create an area to showcase reviews on your website
How can you reach customers to ask for reviews?
4. Make the visit to your store worth while!
You don’t have to have an online shop to grab potential sales online. You can use your website to showcase your entire range and let customers know what you have in-store via a stock checker. You could also look to offer a click and collect service, similar to high street giant Argos, where customers can order an item off your website which you will then reserve in store for them to collect. Don’t forget click and collect services are often popular with customers as you can eliminate any postage costs that would occur online and offer an instant collection beating delivery times.
Could you display product stock?
Could a click-and-collect service work for your business?
5. Explore in-store apps
In-store apps are changing the shopping experience by allowing retailers to be more reactive and to personalise a customer journey before they’ve even stepped into store. You could look to send offers to customers who are within a mile of your store through geo-tagging, which is popular with retailers situated in shopping centres. Or you could offer an app which allows customers to pay in-store by scanning a barcode on their phones. Some retailers offer reward schemes through their app where customers collect points each time they purchase in-store to receive vouchers or discounts. There are a number of possibilities you could explore and adapt to suit your business needs.
Look into creating a app for your business
It’s more important than ever for physical retail stores to not only have an online presence but to make sure both the in-store and online customer experience work together. Many of the above examples are relatively easy and quick to set up and could have a positive impact on the number of in-store sales. Remember that customers are looking for a personalised, quick and smooth experience so it’s worth thinking about what you can offer online to naturally make their in-store experience better.