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5 ways retailers can use digital to drive in-store footfall

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 18 Nov, 2019
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Digital tactics can be a boon for bricks and mortar retailers

Within many multichannel retailers, digital teams work primarily to e-commerce KPIs – traffic, conversion, units per order, unit value and so on.

As a consequence, digital activity that might benefit the physical store estate is often deprioritized or completely ignored.

However, digital marketing presents some of the best opportunities to drive footfall and in-store sales.

Here’s a checklist of 5 things you can do straight away:

1. Improve the store-related areas of your website

It’s likely that a large number of your visitors are already looking for store information on your website or app.

First, make sure that your store locator is up to scratch, especially for mobile users, and make sure it’s easily locatable in your desktop and mobile site header or navigation.

If your customers can’t find your shop information on your website you are not doing them any favours.

Next, spruce up the individual store pages on your website - These are the digital ambassadors of your stores, yet most retailers have uninspiring directory-style listings.

Make sure these pages contain all of the information that your customers need - At a minimum this means address contact details and opening hours, but the best pages provide:

  • Interactive map
  • Public transport information
  • Driving directions and parking information
  • Disabled access and mobility information
  • In-store events and workshops
  • Local social media accounts
  • Information about people working in the store
  • Some decent photography – consider 360-degree shots.

I can go on, but you get the idea - inject a bit of personality and give customers a compelling reason to visit.

Hot tip:

If you offer click and collect, promote it on the store pages, not just on product details pages.

2. Fix your local SEO

There are huge opportunities for multichannel retailers who optimize for local search. Your online competitors can’t play in that area, and most of your offline competitors haven’t done the work (because their digital teams aren’t incentivized to drive store footfall).

Case in point: I’m writing this article in a cafe in Richmond upon Thames. After I’ve finished, I need to buy a birthday present for my daughter.

I know that within a 100m radius there is Waterstones, Tiger, Oliver Bonas, Joy, Paperchase, Smiggle, and at least six independent toy and gift shops, yet none of them optimized for my query.

There’s footfall to be had if you make the effort.

3. Offer click and collect

If you don’t already offer Click and Collect, start now. You don’t need to have a single view of stock to achieve this, just bundle the orders with your store replenishments.

Across the Click and Collect services that I’ve personally worked on, the in-store attachment rate has consistently been 15%-25% - additional sales that would not have been made with home delivery.

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If your business is too small to support Click and Collect, consider becoming a collection point for other retailers.

Argos recently announced its 10-millionth in-store pick up from eBay customers. Just like your local Collect + newsagent, they know that this additional footfall generates incremental sales.

If you are part of a retail group, offer Click and Collect across the different brands, like Ryman and Robert Dyas.

Hot Tip:

Take payment online and not upon collection. Without the psychological commitment of having already paid, customers are much less likely to collect their order.

4. Get local with your PPC campaigns

Overlay your store estate against your PPC campaigns. You are likely to see conversion steadily dropping the nearer the user is to one of your stores. This is because people search online before shopping offline.

Why not embrace this? There are plenty of creative footfall-driving efforts you can make with PPC

  • Use Adwords location extensions in your text ads
  • Create retargeting groups for visitors to each of your website’s store pages.
  • Upload your stock file and take advantage of Google’s Local Inventory Ads (LIAs)

(Image credit Fashion and Mash)

5. Start prospecting locally with programmatic display

Do you want to target ABC1 Telegraph readers within a 500m radius of your store?

Programmatic allows enables you to conduct hyperlocal campaigns across web, mobile, and digital out of home inventory.

The cost of this is coming down, and brands can bypass agencies to work directly with the adtech providers such as Crimtan to run inexpensive and highly effective prospecting campaigns.

What other digital techniques are retailers using to drive footfall? Let me know in the comments.


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By Expert commentator

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