The shape of retailing has changed dramatically and as any store owner knows, you need to try and make yourself available and ready for business however your customer wants to shop.
In store signage can help to promote your website with incentives and the same is true in reverse, where you can use your online identity to encourage online shoppers to visit your retail site, with maybe a discount offer to provide that extra bit of persuasion.
If you can adopt a clicks and mortar strategy, linking your online and in-store marketing efforts, this can only be good for business.
Some of the most savvy retailers around have taken the view that the way forward is by overlapping online and offline customer experiences, combining their marketing so that you get a combined online and offline marketing message that doesn’t favor one medium over the other.
An example of this would be a try before you buy scenario. One of the disadvantages of an online store is that with some products, the customer would normally want to see whether an item fits, looks right or just simply appeals when they have the product in front of their own eyes.
This is the obvious advantage of a physical retail store where customers get a more personal shopping experience. So the most forward-thinking retailers are not trying to force their customers to do one thing or another, they are simply combining their marketing efforts to say to the customer that they really can enjoy the best of both worlds.
You can’t have failed to notice that when you visit an online store, you can often be offered the chance to chat to someone live and discuss your needs or get answers to any questions you have.
The use of live chat software is another prime example of how you can combine the two retail experiences by using a modern solution.
There are so many tools attached to a lot of live chat software that make this marketing and sales tool a real no-brainer in the eyes of a growing number of retailers. Not only do you get the chance for some human interaction with your customers, just like you would in a physical store, but software tools like ClickDesk for example, allow you to track customer conversations and continue the dialogue, perhaps with some offline support like following up a chat via the phone or when they come into your store.
A modern approach
The ultimate aim for many modern businesses, who operate in both the online and offline world, is to find a marketing strategy and a way of communicating with their customers so that you manage to turn in-store shoppers into online customers and vice versa.
It simply doesn’t make sense in so many ways to view these two mediums as separate entities, as your customers are just as comfortable shopping in-store, on their smartphone, or both almost simultaneously.
Which is why you need to take a bricks and clicks approach to your marketing efforts.
Mason Lewis works in marketing and has built up years of experience and knowledge having worked in different roles within the industry. Look out for his articles at various business blogs.