Credit: Getty Images by Hinterhaus Productions
Spring is here, lockdowns are a fading memory and the economic outlook is brighter. Although uncertainty abounds and wallets remain tight, we may be in for a softer landing than previously thought. You can celebrate the good news by looking for creative ways to earn wallet share when online and in-store traffic are more blended than ever.
A great in-store customer experience has never been more important, and now you can showcase the brick-and-mortar locations that you chose with such care. Here are five ways to earn wallet share and drive in-store traffic by enhancing customer engagement in your stores:
1. Collect customer data beyond the point of sale.
When you ask in-store customers to opt in for digital communication (and promise to protect data privacy), you’re most likely using the data to continue the customer journey after they leave the store. Consider this instead: What if you used this data to align your in-store and online records and customer profiles? That way when a devoted online shopper visits a physical location, they can be greeted and feel comfortable and valued. If you’re not doing this, you’re missing an opportunity. This is why customer data matters online and in-store; having a digitally connected store is essential.
Backup plan — use QR codes. It’s not just consumer wallets that are tight. If you can’t expand data collection due to budgetary constraints, use QR codes for customers to opt into a rewards program, get invitations to VIP events and more. Customers have become more comfortable using QR codes, so they’re an affordable option to help make vital connections throughout the store.
2. Welcome your best customers with VIP events.
Your best online fans, the loyal customers who write great reviews and refer people to your business, deserve some love with VIP treatment. Special events for customers who can visit a storefront and exclusive online offers to include those who can’t are great ways to showcase your brand and maximize in-store and online traffic. It’s important to recognize loyal customers to show them their support is valued and find ways to strengthen the connections with them in person and virtually.
3. Make sure customers’ online and in-store shopping experiences are aligned.
Take a look at your site and tour your location, viewing both through your customers’ eyes. Does the planogram match the look and feel of your retail site? Ensure floor decals and hanging ceiling signs match online graphics and messaging to reinforce the connection.
4. Conduct a sensory audit.
Commerce is increasingly taking place in virtual spaces, which means customers aren’t using all five senses to shop online. But with your brick-and-mortar store, you have the advantage of using them to create memorable shopping experiences. Conduct an audit and upgrade your store’s sensory appeal now while it’s still a differentiator.
5. Survey your staff to make sure they’re onboard.
What about your brand ambassadors and team members? Do they internalize company values? Do they understand what you’re trying to accomplish with customer engagement? Are they helping create a unified brand across digital and physical spaces and deliver great in-store experiences? Conducting a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey can give you the insights and confidence you need on how to move forward with your team.
Consumer confidence is lagging so far in 2023, even as recession fears ease. However, you can succeed in this environment by maximizing the customer experience in-store. These five tips can help you retain wallet share with in-store traffic and unify your brand across digital and physical locations.
Tara Kelly is the founder, president and CEO of SPLICE Software, a customer engagement company that specializes in using big data, small data and artificial intelligence to create messages that drive customer engagement and the desired call to action.
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