For years now, the changing landscape of marketing has affected the growth of retail industries. As more people are shifting to digital, the hope for brick and mortar stores to thrive seems to be dimming down.
A retail think tank Fung Global Retail & Technology revealed in 2017 that about 6700 stores in the US had announced their plans to shut down. This is not a good indication of success for retail stores.
However, it is not yet the end of the journey. Brick and Mortar stores, solely, may not be as effective as it was before but when incorporated into some modern marketing tactics, your physical store still has a chance of success.
Leverage The Current Technology
The belief that current technology brings death to physical stores is not true. The advent of modern technology empowers people. It brings convenience to shopping thus; more consumers are encouraged to buy from various businesses. This, when used correctly can bring more foot traffic to your store.
Here are two technologies you can utilize for your business.
Artificial Intelligence allows you to analyze consumer’s data. Utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning in your brick and mortar stores enables the use of consumer’s data to create an approach based on how your shoppers interact with your business.
For example, you can designate an AI program on your computers and deploy it on your retail store. This computer contains data such as common consumer’s queries and concerns. So while in the store, your consumers don’t have to wait for an available staff to answer questions about the product; instead they can type in questions on the computer for answers.
Additionally, your AI technology can store data such as new and returning customer information and new customer’s questions to add up on the database so when these questions are asked, your AI can fire back answers to the consumers based on his previous transaction (if returning customer) or disclosed information.
With the use of AI in your store, you can also predict demand for better inventory management. You can also personalize your service based on consumer’s data.
Augmented reality has been making headlines for years now. There are big companies that have started to embrace augmented reality to drive more traffic to their brick and mortar stores.
Ikea, for example, launched an Ikea Place AR App which allows customers to virtually view what a room would look like using particular furniture. Thus, enhancing customer’s purchasing decision.
The Alibaba ‘s New Retail is also bringing customers from online to offline stores. Through augmented reality consumers from online can experience an entertaining way to shop offline.
In your retail business, you can use augmented reality in so many ways to drive in foot traffic. For example, a simple flyer when viewed through an AR app can bring life to print images.
With technology like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, your physical store can provide a seamless shopping experience to consumers. You can recreate shopping experience in a way that your consumers would prefer buying in your physical store.
Get Creative With Communication
One of the issues why consumers shifted from offline to online shopping is because of communication. Gone are the days where people would rely on phone calls, text messages and emails to communicate with brands. Today, communication should be as fast, accurate and personalized.
This is why you should learn to utilize new and creative ways to communicate with consumers. One of the dominant tools for brand communication is automation.
You can integrate automation into your social media channels so when users interact with your brand, they can get a response on time.
As a business owner or marketer, we know how difficult it is to juggle your time in different aspects of the business. Using marketing automation, you can leverage data, streamline your communication and anticipate needs without the need to sit down on from of your devices to answers consumers queries.
Likewise, creative communication needs to be consistent. If you want to nurture leads and encourage consumers to visit your store, you need to provide them with relevant content consistently. Sparingly, send out promotions, events, or other significant content through their emails or social media channels to keep their interests in your brand.
Don’t Forget The Basics
Utilizing modern marketing to improve your brick and mortar stores does not mean you should leave the basics behind. There are proven strategies which are still useful in driving leads towards your physical store.
Specifically, local SEO is vital for online visibility. For example, as a shoe retailer in New York, if a potential customer looks online information using terms like “shoe shop in New York,” your shop information needs to visible on top pages.
Also, don’t forget to go mobile. People spend their digital minutes mostly in mobile. If you have a website which you want to leverage to drive traffic towards your store, you should work on making your site mobile-ready.
A study from comScore reported that 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. That’s a clear indication that local SEO combined with mobile could give a retail business a boost.
It’s Not Yet The End
Another study reported that 50% of Millennial prefer shopping in physical stores. Contrary to popular belief, the brick and mortar industry is not dying. It needs to be reshaped to compete online.
Brick and mortar, when combined with practical and creative modern marketing, can bring a new color to the retail industry and eventually give life to the new way of shopping.