With Christmas looming ever closer, how can you truly seize the potential of this festive season and draw the maximum number of customers into your stores? Many retailers make the mistake of treating their online presence and physical stores differently, when it’s actually far more sensible and profitable to view them holistically. But how do you go from Instagram to a sale? Let’s take a look at four ways in which you can drive customers to your stores by using your online channels.
A consistent presence from the screen to the store
Your business needs to look and feel the same in every form, from your Instagram account to the inside of your stores. This sense of familiarity is important for the customer as it promotes your business as one that is trustworthy and reliable, which in turn makes the customer far more loyal to your brand. This consistency should extend not just to the logo and the colours associated with your business, but also to the style and tone of the advertising copy used both online and offline.
A store locator
A store locator platform is an ingenious piece of software which is sure to drive customers to your stores. Essentially a directory of your physical stores, this platform enables customers to either search for the location of your store or geo locate themselves to find the store nearest to them. This is particularly useful around Christmas. Shoppers are often browsing from shop to shop, seeking inspiration for the perfect gift, and if they can easily search for your location from their phone, you’re sure to see more customers coming to your store.
Advertise in-store events
Using social media to publicise in-store events and promotions is an excellent way of driving customers offline. Instagram Stories are being used more and more to draw customers into stores. A good example of this is clothing retailer J. Crew, who advertised a pre-sale event in a Story simply by saying “LA…swipe up.” Tickets were made available on a landing page, and the event was a sell-out.
This approach can also be effectively combined with your store locator pages, whereby if a potential customer searches for a nearby store, any current promotions or events can be advertised as an extra incentive to go along.
This one can be tricky to get right, but when it’s done correctly the rewards are plentiful. Influencer marketing involves working with someone who has a significant amount of clout on social media, whether they have a particularly popular Instagram account, a YouTube channel with a large number of followers, or a blog which receives a high amount of hits. After you’ve researched the kind of online personalities you think might be interested, matching their specific interests to your products, approach them and see if they would be interested in promoting your brand via their channels.
A picture on Instagram or a video in which a vlogger shows off and talks about your product for even 30 seconds could do a lot to get the word out about your business. Not only can this be a great way to reach certain demographics, who may pay more attention to an Instagram star than a TV advert, it can also build trust and confidence in your brand if the personality is someone admired for their good taste and knowledge of current trends.
Irma Hunkeler is head of operations at BlueGlass.