How to Maximize Online Data for Offline Sales This Holiday Season
Now that we’re in the holiday season, brands and retailers need to ensure they maximize digital marketing strategies to help increase traditional brick-and-mortar sales. Research shows that sales via mobile devices are expected to reach $20.1 billion, a 45.2 percent growth, with mobile visits accounting for 49 percent of holiday brick-and-mortar store visits. What does this mean for you? It’s time to revamp your marketing campaigns to ensure you’re using data-driven online strategies and tactics to drive more customers into your physical locations.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans currently own a smartphone, according to Pew Research. Knowing this, it’s vital for brands to adopt a mobile-first mind-set, including a mobile-friendly site design, a mobile app, and call-to-action buttons displayed prominently on the homepage. For brands with a brick-and-mortar presence, it should also include optimized business listings information (Google My Business, Facebook, Apple) with key information and keywords associated with your business. Make sure your contact information is easily discoverable, as this can be a deal breaker for shoppers who are having trouble finding your location or have questions and want to speak with an associate in person.
Most mobile-related shopping searches are done by consumers researching information about a physical store, including location, directions and hours. In fact, mobile shopping-related searches increased 120 percent in the last year. With this growth in mind, retailers are realizing that mobile plays a critical role in driving online shoppers in-store. Shoppers now reach for their phones during micro-moments, stemming from “I need gift ideas” or “I want to see what others are buying” to "I want to buy."
Getting the Most Out of Local User Data
Local search campaigns and the resulting customer data they provide are vital to truly integrating an online and offline strategy. Consumers benefit as they can conduct helpful “near me” and brand-agnostic searches (e.g., “best department store for jeans”) that provide specific results based on their geographical location and filters. Marketers can then use the data provided through Google Analytics and AdWords to determine which phrases and keywords are most often driving customers in-store. It’s important to use analytics data to identify trends and themes in user search behavior, and ensure your location is showing up in these results using either organic search or paid search tactics
While the customer journey and capturing user data was once a linear path, times are changing with the increased use of mobile devices and online shopping. Now, we have multiple high-intent touchpoints stemming from a variety of devices (e.g., mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.) that influence the final purchasing decision of each and every consumer. Consumers now have more ways to engage with a brand or other shoppers before committing to a purchase, including social pages, mobile/website chat functions and customer service. For you to connect directly with individuals during these critical points, make sure you can accurately make sense of the customer’s intent at each step using the analytics data available to you.
If a shopper is just beginning their search, how can you help them find what they’re looking for? Again, brand-agnostic keywords and phrases in search results are a big help as you seek to be a resource in answering their online queries. If they’re in the middle of their search and want to visit one of your physical stores before deciding on a purchase, having an easily accessible map on your website and optimized business listings on channels like Google My Business for each location will be extremely beneficial. Focusing on and catering to these moments will help draw customers to your store, increase revenue and assist in retargeting campaigns.
While the holiday season will always be a busy time for retailers, it’s more important than ever to ensure your offline and online strategies are performing well. Captured data is key to understanding your customer and increasing return on investment.
Alex Porter is the CEO of Location3, a digital marketing firm based in Denver.
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