Research suggests the relationship between a physical store and its digital counterpart is imperative to understanding and increasing traffic.

Many people once thought online shopping makes brick and mortar stores obsolete and concluded Generation Z (those born in the mid-to-late 90’s) would shop exclusively online but that’s simply not the case.

A recent survey from IBM found that most shoppers, even the younger demographics, prefer brick and mortar shopping. To drive this idea home, Shopular also conducted a poll that found 63.6% of people planned to do their retail shopping in a physical store. The reason customers move heavily towards online shopping has little to do with convenience and more to do with success rates.

When a shopper goes to a store for the first time with a specific product or service in mind and it’s not there, the experience is ruined for them immediately. The likeliness of seeing them again is slim to none.

Using Digital Marketing to Drive Traffic

Businesses can actually use this to their advantage when they implement digital marketing strategies. By showing the shopper what your store has and what you don’t, you can attract people who know what they want.

These strategies can get them in the door but you also have to use digital marketing as a way to meet or exceed their expectations once they walk through the door.

You need to accomplish a few things before you start expanding your local business through digital marketing. First, think mobile. When people are on the go, they always search for stores with their phone. You might be closest but if the mobile version of your website is terrible, they will quickly leave and find a store around your their needs. Google found that 50% of people that searched for a product on their smartphone visited the store that same day, while desktop users only saw 34% of their online traffic. If you’re not taking advantage of local mobile searches, then you’re losing a crippling amount of potential customers in the process.

You need to use your website as a way to prep the customer, showing them what they can find before they walk in. Google Shopping is a great way to accomplish this goal. Have you ever searched for a specific product on Google and have multiple stores show up near you? That could be YOUR store people see! Once they’re in, the layout pulls them in with delightful things they wouldn’t expect.

Keeping your site relevant can be accomplished with fresh products with relevant/ valuable content. You can bid on keywords during prominent shopping seasons for your industry. Even bidding for your business’s name could drastically improve the traffic you see.

Finally, you have to remember that your page is never done. You need new content and fresh insights to keep improving both customer experience and functionality.

There are a variety of reasons people go to retail stores to shop. Not just for a purchase but also to have that physical item in their hands as soon as they spend the money.

The trick is managing a strong digital marketing strategy that shows your store first when people are searching for your industry in the area.

Customers want an excellent experience from both your physical store and your website. Have you ever felt the wonderment of walking into a Barnes and Noble and seeing a Starbucks or the nifty knick-knacks near the front of the store? They may have come for that copy of Anna Karenina after seeing it was available on their online store but these extra features made the experience that much better.

All of these tactics culminate to a wonderful in-store experience. Of course, using email sign ups showing customers current in-stock inventory before they get in their car, and offering coupons can help bring people to your local store too.

Digital marketing isn’t competition for your brick and mortar store; it should be treated as a tool to help boost traffic when used correctly.

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