As we move into November, you might notice brands launching their holiday advertising rollouts. Month-long campaigns to drive consumers into their stores for all of their holiday shopping. And while we know that eCommerce continues to grow as a method for consumer shopping, 87.6% of 2018 holiday spending was still through brick-and-mortar/ in-store retail.
According to Blackhawk Network, in-store shoppers are still the majority, especially among older generations — 66% of GenXers and 72% of Baby Boomers shop at brick-and-mortar stores all the time.
So before ruling out brick-and-mortar and focusing all efforts on bolstering eCommerce sales, we came up with three strategies that brands can leverage to win over online shopping and maximize revenue this season.
1. Upgraded In-Store Experiences
The physical point of sale is still the most reassuring channel for shoppers, confirming that touching and seeing a product is an essential part of the shopping experience. And this season, shoppers are expecting more engaging retail experiences.
Leveraging a thoughtful experiential retail experience is how brands can entice customers into their stores and make their encounters enjoyable, giving them reason to spend more time there.
In an interview with eMarketer, Jaime Bettencourt, SVP of premier sales and account management at in-store media solutions provider Mood Media, provided some key insights on the benefits of experiential retail. “We surveyed about 11,000 customers worldwide and especially in the younger demographics—ages 18 to 24—consumers say that atmosphere and experience of the store is the top reason for shopping in-store vs. online.”
The visit to a physical store provides people with instant gratification after purchasing an item versus the wait that is required with online shopping. And oftentimes, consumers look at in-store shopping as an outing or event. By creating a fulfilling experience, brands are more likely to connect with consumers and make them actually want to shop in-store. These experiences can help create a connection with customers, further building brand loyalty and return business. Curating an environment that provides a positive experience instead of the crazed holiday shopping rush will ultimately encourage customers to buy from your store.
2. Enhanced Use of Data and Technology
We know consumers usually take a multi-channel path to purchase, often beginning on mobile. Even while in a physical retail location, many people still refer to their mobile to assist them with their shopping. Retailers can leverage this as a way to enhance the experience for their shoppers.
As digital touchpoints become a key part of the shopping journey, we can expect to see retailers incorporate technology that will aid in the speed and convenience for their shoppers. According to eMarketer, “48% of US internet users believe scan-and-go technology would make shopping easier. And 43% would rather try scan-and-go than wait in a checkout line.”
Major retailers like Sam’s Clubs are looking to provide more convenience through technology in their locations. CEO, Jamie Iannone, wrote about some of the improvements they would be making at their facilities like mobile scan-and-go, as well as an updated app that will help consumers find their way in-store and navigate aisles to locate products.
3. Localized Drive-to-Store Strategy
It’s clear that in-store shopping is still a crucial channel for brands to meet their holiday revenue goals, but traditional advertising strategies may not work this season. And while creating spaces that are more welcoming and convenient will help, you still have to get people through your doors first. To be successful in getting shoppers into stores and purchasing items, brands need to develop an effective drive-to-store strategy that will help increase footfall and sales uplift.
Instead of pushing out national holiday campaigns, brands should look to run localized and relevant mobile ads that can urge consumers into their nearest store and make it as simple as possible for them. Creatives that seamlessly integrate into the user’s feed and lead to a real-time map that works with the GPS application within the smartphone will provide convenient methods to reach the nearest physical retail shop.
And while increasing visits is key, it is crucial for brands to work with a partner that is able to prove real ROI on ad spend. Simply counting visits during a certain timeframe is not enough to signify that a mobile drive-to-store campaign was successful. It is about knowing which visits came directly from the campaign and which visits were driven by other media channels, organically, or were attributed inaccurately. Measuring the extra visits that took place as a result of the campaign is what will really demonstrate ROI this season.
With the 2019 holiday shopping spend expected to reach $1 trillion this year, the opportunity for retailers is massive. As the season approaches, successful brands will be those who embrace essential tactics that will increase in-store visits, ultimately helping to achieve real business results. This will be key for retailers that are looking to increase revenue before the January sales that start off the new year.