In recent years a radical change took place as a store for consumers – are increasingly on the Internet to research products before going into a retailer. In fact, Credit Suisse reports 87% of consumers now conduct product research online before buying in person. U.S. in-store retail sale influenced by consumers doing online research is expected to reach 1.1 trillion dollars by 2012. This is almost half of all retail sales!
A well designed and implemented the strategy of interactive marketing is critical to the success of the site e-commerce website; and can catapult in-store retail sales. Here are our six best interactive marketing tactics.
1. Use email to provide timely, personalized offers. It is known that at an average cost of about $ 0.01 per message sent and the immediacy of response rates results in email being one of the most cost effective methods of marketing to retailers. But beyond that use email marketing to drive site traffic, it can also be a very effective method to promote in-store retail. As the holiday season is upon us, consumers are increasingly reluctant to make purchases online, fearing that their products can not be delivered on time. This represents an ideal opportunity to use e-mail of digital coupons and promotions that can be used for in-store purchases.
Effective use of email marketing to increase sales in stores, however, requires a well thought out call-to- action. The first step is to cultivate a very selective list of opt-in email consumers. Then, interactions with attractive offers and clear call-to-actions (CTA) that are delivered regularly. E-mail branding should be compatible with the design of traditional advertising to drive consumers and offer specific landing pages or micro-sites or to include promotion codes for use in stores so the results of the offer can be accurately measured, reported and optimized.
2. Make sure consumers can find you online. With nearly 9 in 10 consumers who seek products and future online shopping, search engine optimization effective (SEO) and optimization of social media (SMO) of your website and retail store and is not an option – it is now crucial. According to “The Compete Online Shopper Intelligence” study1, web sites of other retail and search engines are the two primary sources buyers use to do their research, followed by e-mail. The report found that 90% of consumers use search engines, 48% use online yellow pages and 42% used comparison shopping engines to research purchases. Almost 25% use websites vertical. But the biggest change is that consumers no longer rely on one source of information. The consumer looking to 7.9 different sources of information about the product.
“Coupon Codes” and “discount codes” for some products in a very popular search terms, which can be very effective in driving both the website and in-store traffic. It’s important to note that consumers are usually looking for specific products online, not the names of the shops. Therefore, the use of keyword optimized “landing page” for your most popular products are targeted to attract these buyers. These landing pages should include detailed descriptions of products, optimized for images, videos (if available), customer feedback and testimonials, and third-party comments. These landing pages, will have an impact on product sales and can also boost your overall site ranking in search engines.
3. Enjoy the viral power of social media. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter give retailers the opportunity to have loyal customers increase both the reach and impact of their product offerings. Since the average Facebook user has 130 friends and 90% of recommendations to consumers by trusted peers (according Neilson), a social media marketing program has became a must-do for retailers. Compete’s study1 reveals that consumers searching for retailers to Facebook and Twitter in ever increasing amounts, 31% say they check Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds for retailers – nearly twice as many people as in third countries quarter of 2009.
Although setting up a fan page on Facebook and Twitter account is free, maintenance and proper use to drive a measurable increase in sales is not. Social media success requires a well-planned strategy which depends highly relevant content, which encourages discussion and sharing. Poorly designed social media strategy, on the other hand, can disenchant consumers, and cause dramatic side effects to your online store’s reputation causing more harm than good.
4. Blog your way to more sales. It is an important part of all of the interactive marketing and social media strategy today and is a great way to create and maintain a dialogue of your followers. Because blogs are not yet generally available to all retailers today is a simple way to distinguish yourself from your competition and retain customers. The blog is also a great way to get informal feedback from customers about your company and products. Moreover, the contents of your blog can be search engine optimized with titles and keywords to increase search engine rankings.
5. Embrace the cross-channel marketing. We define cross-channel marketing as the use of a marketing channel (e.g. direct mail) to support or promote a different channel. Since about 9 out of 10 consumers now research products online and through mobile devices to reduce their product options before setting foot in a store; cross-channel marketing is a necessary component to any retailer marketing strategy. Today, consumers expect a unified experience for all sales channels which includes content design, pricing and promotions.
A marketing strategy implemented correctly can use a directory to postcards, newspaper ads and catalogs to traffic to your website or email campaign that promotes growth of your fan base on Facebook. Provide your customers with personal discounts, exclusive offers and digital coupons are generally used as incentives. You want to cross promote across all your marketing channels.
6. Empower your website to drive sales both online and in-store sales. Convert your site into the hub for all the important information consumers need to make an informed buying decisions. Include detailed product descriptions, manufacturer, high-angle photos, product comparison capabilities, rich media (video), product evaluations and reviews, client testimonials, warranty information and return policy. Include local offerings and weekly circular ads on your website. Remember to include a store locator, an in-stock / availability indicator and a “buy online / pick-up in store” feature to provide convenience to customers.