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How to convert in-store shoppers to online customers (and vice versa)

How to convert in-store shoppers to online customers (and vice versa)

Commerce is all around us, and thanks to the rise of smartphones, consumers have the ability to shop from almost any brand from any location. To keep up with rising consumer demands, companies need to create consistent experiences across digital and physical channels.

Taking a multichannel approach to brand management can be an effective strategy for converting in-store customers into online shoppers, and vice versa.

Understand digital's impact on offline sales

Customers expect consistent experiences across channels.Customers expect consistent experiences across channels.

These days, digital channels such as mobile search impact more offline sales more than you might think. According to research from SweetIQ, digital impacts 40 percent of all offline transactions. In other words, your online presence and brick-and-mortar establishment are two sides of the same coin: your brand. Customers are unlikely to distinguish between the two.

To put things simply, if your digital presence does not match your in-store customer experience, customers will notice. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Gladly found that 92 percent of consumers say they would stop purchasing from a company after three or fewer poor customer service experiences.

The more consistency you can create between your physical and digital stores, the better. Not only should your branding align, but also the types of interactions that take place in each channel. For instance, if a shopper asks a question on your online customer service solution, they should receive the same answer as if they asked an in-store representative.

Leverage local search optimization

When shoppers want to find your store, they go online – even if they live down the street from your establishment. That's why it's so important for you to have complete listings on platforms such as Google Maps and Yelp. Today's search algorithms are highly complex, and their goal is to provide results that closely match the user's intent.

Therefore, when a user searches for a phrase like "Jewelry stores near me", Google will display the closest jewelry stores, based on the user's location data.

To ensure your shop appears in local searches, make sure you completely fill out any details on your store's Google Maps profile. Google makes it easy to manage your listings, reply to customer reviews and share images.

Use social media strategically

Social media can act as the bridge between your online shop and your physical store. No matter which channel your customers come from, they are likely to visit your social media pages when they want to learn more about your brand.

However, if there is no incentive to interact with your brand on social media, it won't happen. People may stop by your page to check your open and closing times, but they aren't likely to start a conversation. You have to be there to create interesting posts and engage with visitors.

Common tactics to draw in social media followers include offering discounts and freebies, posting sales ads, hosting customer polls and sharing customer stories. Small business owners may want to choose one or two social media platforms to get started, as several pages can be difficult to manage.

Building a brand that can compete effectively online as well as in a brick-and-mortar space requires strategic thinking and a comprehensive understanding of market trends. To learn more, visit our resource center.