For retailers, the line between online and offline shopping experiences no longer exists. Today’s consumers expect consistent branding and service across all platforms, whether they’re physically in a store, browsing products on a website or reaching out on social media.
To succeed in 2018, it’s important for retail businesses of any size to prioritize the omnichannel customer experience. We asked Forbes Agency Council members to recommend effective tactics for bridging the gap between a store’s social media presence and its in-store retail environment. Here are their best answers.
1. Create A Fun Experience 2. Try To Replicate The In-Store Experience Online 3. Educate Your Employees 4. Bring Screens Into The Store 5. Drive Cross-Traffic With Special Incentives 6. Create Original Social Content That Extends The In-Store Experience
Your social media needs to provide consumers a reason to engage – original content they want to see and share. But that original content needs to be an extension of your in-store experience, not just a visual capture or regurgitation. Think of your store, your social media and your marketing as one holistic universe, and ensure that every component is complementary but different. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan
7. Provide Top-Notch Customer Service 8. Incorporate User Feedback 9. Enhance The Mystery Of The Physical/Digital Divide
It’s tempting to use social media as the catalog for your retail storefront. While it’s a great strategy to tease and inspire interest by featuring eye-catching merchandise, if you give away the full goods to the endless scrollers, you risk losing impact when they step foot in-store. Leave them wanting more to maximize the mystery and drive more foot traffic. – Danny Cox, Blue Truck Studios
10. Facilitate Instagram Moments For Your Customers
Retail business owners, restaurants and hotels should create physical places where customers will want to take a photo and post it on their page – in front of a cool mannequin, fountain or sign. Often, you see ice cream shops with huge ice cream cones or massive Alice in Wonderland chairs in hotel lobbies. People love these things and will post, resulting in free marketing for your business. – T. Maxwell, eMaximize
11. Encourage Social Media Interactions In-Store 12. Get Customer-Facing Employees Involved In Social Content Initiatives 13. Personify Your Brand On Social Media
We’re social people. Roll back the robotics and build relationships with local influencers and businesses, and create active “on-the-street” dialogue on social media. Wendy’s Twitter account is a perfect example. We can now put a personality to the brand, and it goes a long way to building relationships and adding value. Give your social presence a personality, too. – Kenny Brightman III, Lion + Panda
14. Livestream A Mini-Series In-Store 15. Be Ruthlessly Consistent
The key to success for all brands is ruthless consistency across all platforms. To consumers, everything a brand shares communicates something to them. By being consistent, consumers will receive a clear and concise message. This consistency will build trust and confidence over time, especially if the brand’s benefits fulfill a desire or alleviate a pain point. – Pete Canalichio, Licensing Brands, Inc.
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