Turning Online Viewers into In-Store Customers
Part 2 of 3 in our Customer Experience Blog Series
In Parts 1 and 2 of The Customer Experience (here and here), we reviewed how consumers now control the customer experience and how your business can use online videos and influencer marketing to enhance interaction with your brand. In Part 3, we turn our attention to one final piece of the customer experience puzzle, effective websites.
Do you have a brick-and-mortar retail site? You'll be happy to hear that customers still overwhelmingly purchase at physical stores versus online. Even though consumers do take advantage of the convenience of 24/7 online shopping, online sales are still projected to comprise less than 10% of all retail sales by 20181.
With that being said, consumers today are using digital media to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience, especially mobile devices. According to eMarketer, 75% of customers who find useful local information on smartphone searches end up visiting the store. Your customers are looking for information about local availability of products, store location and directions and store hours2. Make it easy for them to find information about your business with a mobile-optimized website. Forcing consumers to navigate a full
website on a smartphone just doesn't cut it anymore.
Best Buy, a popular consumer electronics corporation, gives customers the best of the online and brick-and-mortar worlds. While you may not be Best Buy, your business can still apply these smart, universal principles:
- The mobile-optimized website allows visitors to navigate easily through all its product lines.
- Customers can easily add filters, check prices and product specs, read customer reviews and more.
- When they’re ready to buy, customers can purchase online and choose delivery or in-store pickup.
- The menu (three-bar icon) on the mobile site makes it a snap to find local store information (address, phone number and store hours).
- The mobile version of the website provides the same easy-to-shop experience.
What about "showrooming?"
A recent concern for brick-and-mortar entities involves consumers going into a store to check out a product and then purchasing online after searching for the best price (called "showrooming"). But how often does this actually occur? Turns out - less often than you may have thought. A survey conducted by Think with Google in collaboration with Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands found that fewer than a third of smartphone users looked up information on a competitor’s website while in a store. In two out of three cases, they were u
sing search engines to find general information3.
How can you take advantage of customers’ in-store online activity?
Include information on your mobile-optimized site that supplements the local shopping experience. Here are some suggestions as to what you might include:
- Detailed product descriptions that include special features or functions
- Additional size or color options
- Customer reviews
- Customer service benefits
- Videos demonstrating product functionality
- In-store availability
- Available accessories
And, of course, the customer experience doesn’t stop online. Once in your store, your customers are looking for advice; personalized, attentive service; and a good deal. Deliver that along with an effective website, and you’ll make the sale4.
For more about how effective websites, influencer marketing and online video are transforming the way consumers interact with businesses, check out our brief, "2016 Trend of the Year."
1. How to Bridge the Gap Between In-Store and Digital, http://www.emarketer.com/Article/How-Bridge-Gap-Between-In-Store-Digital/1011683, December 9, 2014
3. Think with Google, “Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping: Research Debunks Common Myths,” October 2014, https://think.storage.googleapis.com/docs/digital-impact-on-in-store-shopping_research-studies.pdf
About the Author
Merrie Beth Salazar is a marketing professional experienced in leading teams and projects to measurable success. With a background in research and storytelling, she looks for the untold insights behind marketing campaigns and brings them to life.Follow on Twitter More Content by Merrie Beth Salazar