Retailers and brands need to coordinate their online to in-store efforts all that much more as we approach the holiday season. If retailers aren’t offering consumers useful information in the ways consumers are using digital, retailers will miss out on informing consumers during their research process, fail to get them into stores, and ultimately lose the purchase to a competitor.
Consumers are almost equally as likely to start researching a product in-store versus online. 53% of consumers start researching online versus 48% in-store. Nearly half of in-store researchers purchase in-store and nearly 20% of digital-first researchers purchase in-store. (eMarketer)
A fully supported online to offline promotion strategy is essential to reach consumers and drive sales. As a retailer or brand, how can you best optimize your product information, promotions and shopping experiences? There are three things to consider to get the most out of this holiday season.
Mobile Shopping & Locating Stores
It’s key to optimize how you’re reaching consumers on mobile devices from two standpoints. 1) Create an engaging, seamless mobile shopping experience. 2) Capture local searches to bring customers in-store.
Salesforce estimates that mobile will capture 68% of worldwide online retail traffic and 46% of transactions this holiday season, and for the first time, surpassing computers (44%). “Mobile is undoubtedly the most disruptive force in retail since the onset of e-commerce,” Rick Kenney, head of consumer insights at Salesforce. Consider optimizing your website’s mobile experience or creating/optimizing a mobile shopping app. Small updates like a more streamlined checkout process can also make a big difference.
Mobile presence is also essential to allow consumers to find your store locations while they are on-the-go. Google “near me” searches have increased by 900% 2015-2017. These are mobile device searches by customers who are looking to visit a store. Not only are consumers searching for stores, but these searches translate to sales. 76% of local searches result in a store visit and 28% of those visits result in a purchase. (Google) Mobile offers little screen real estate so having an ad, optimized Google Maps listing and strong SEO are all essential to ensure you have a chance of reaching the consumer instead of your competitor.
Promote Deals & Create Urgency
Customers hear about deals the most via emails followed by a retailer’s website. According to Shopify, 46% of shoppers heard about the best deals from a retailer’s email while 39% visited their website directly for that information. All other sources are below 10%.
It’s important that your email marketing strategy promotes the latest deals and deal reminders. Also make sure to create urgency with shoppers by outlining shipping deadlines and days left to shop.
Consider ways of segmenting your CRM list so that email messaging can be customized for your customers’ shopping interests, favorite stores and locations. Follow up emails can also be sequenced depending on previous email activity or in-store purchases.
As for your website, ensure it features current deals and sneak peaks of what’s to come to keep customers engaged. All pages of your site can feature the latest deal information so that no matter where a customer enters your site, they get the most important details. It’s important to create urgency on your site as well. Add deal countdowns, a reminder email for cart abandoners and reminders for final ship days.
Free shipping is still important to customers. 68% of consumers think that $50 is the minimum order value to expect free shipping. (National Retail Federation) Highlight free shipping as a consistent and key promotion and remind customers throughout the shopping experience.
Fill The Store Closure Gap
There is opportunity to fill the void left by retailers closing their doors. It’s important to think about what you offer in relation to wider marketplace trends. Flagship holiday shopping retailers are closing their doors at a rapid rate. Top closures include Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart, Ascena Retail Group (including LOFT, Ann Taylor and Dressbarn), Bon-Ton and Best Buy. (Coresight Research)
Toys R Us closures opens up the toys category for retailers this season. For example, Party City is making a play for this market by opening 50 pop-up “Toy City” stores for the holidays. (Coresight Research) Kmart and Sears leaves room for consumers looking for a one-stop shop for great deals. Clothing retailers can also find an opportunity with convenient locations and discounting. Capitalizing on these trends via promotions and featured category content can help introduce your product or store to consumers who have had their shopping habits disrupted.
There is still time to get a great holiday strategy in place. Some small changes can be all you need to get started to see better results this coming holiday season!