5 Must-Steal Ideas for Driving Store Traffic this Holiday

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Nov 01 2016, Posted by Lisa Cramer

Store foot traffic has been a growing cause for concern, especially as we approach the holidays. So we’ve pulled together a list of top traffic-generation ideas worth stealing to give you a little holiday inspiration.

From Bloomingdale’s snapchat campaigns to Sprint’s local mobile ads, here are 5 must-steal ideas to drive traffic to your stores this holiday.

  1. Show Store Inventory Online

    • More than 80% of U.S. consumers want the ability to check for nearby product availability (PixelMEDIA).
    • One in four consumers say they avoid stores because they don’t know if a product is in stock (Google).

    Showing consumers the items you have in stock at nearby stores is a proven way to direct search-traffic to your brick-and-mortar stores. Google Local Inventory Ads, which show actual store inventory to online searchers, can be an excellent resource here. These ads allow you to reach consumers at the precise moment in their shopping journey when they are actively seeking a product you carry.

    According to a Google report, here are some of the results some brands are seeing after adopting Local Inventory Ads:

    • Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores actually saw a 122% increase in store visits and in-store sales at five times the rate of TV ads—or $8 of in-store sales for every dollar spent on online ads.
    • Sprint saw a 31% higher visit rate from consumers who viewed its mobile search ads compared to those who saw desktop ads, and its Google campaigns drove five in-store sales for every one conducted online.
    • Staples’ in-store visits lifted 33% after running shopping campaigns through Google and the click-through rate on its product listing ads increased 29%.
  2. Test Interactive Store Windows

    New Zealand fashion retailer, AS Color, recently rolled out their fun, new Colormatic window display—a virtual stylist digital assistant designed to help customers add color to their wardrobes. The digital assistant rates outfits of passersby on a scale of 1-100. It awards points for originality, identifies weak links in the overall ensemble and provides advice on colors and pieces to push an outfit from a fashion “don’t” to a “do.” According to company reports, sales increased about 16% at the Colormatic test location.

    A study by POPAI found that the more time a consumer spends engaged with a brand the more likely they are to convert, or in this case, go into the store and purchase. Today, there are several retail technologies that connect to mobile devices, analyze and respond to a shopper’s age/gender/mood, sense/trigger an event or deliver targeted real-time marketing. These technologies can be used to create unique, engaging experiences outside of standard, static window treatments that compel consumers to enter your stores.

  3. Use Stores to Fulfill Online Orders

    In a race for the last mile, a growing number of retailers—Kohl’s, Home Depot, Bon-Ton’s, Game Stop to name a few—have recently adopted buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) options. And, with great success. Home Depot actually saw 42% of its online orders and nearly 90% of its online returns in the second quarter handled by stores.

    But, what’s even more interesting is a study by two professors at Dartmouth College & Northwestern University that found that BOPS options increase sales overall—even though online sales decreased slightly, in-store sales increased more than online sales decreased. What’s more, another study by comScore and UPS found that have shipped an order to a store for pickup, and 45% of those shoppers bought something else while picking up the purchase.

    BOPS services can be very effective tools for driving in-store traffic and increasing transaction sizes, especially once you factor in upselling or successfully merchandising by the “pickup” area.

  4. Implement Location-Based Marketing

    • Google searches with “near me” have grown 2.4X year-over-year (Google).
    • 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase (Google).
    • One in three shoppers has purchased from a company or brand other than the one he or she intended to because of information received in the moment (Google).

    Today one of the best ways you can take advantage of the “mobile craze” is to capture consumers with location-based marketing. You can place very inexpensive ads targeted in your geographic location, whenever a consumer searches online for products and services. Some options here include Facebook’s Local Awareness Ads or mobile apps like Pushlocal or RetailMeNot, all of which use a smartphone’s GPS data to target audiences within a certain radius (a technology called geo-fencing). Another option is the small, Bluetooth-enabled, beacons, which when paired with a retailer’s mobile app or Facebook’s Place Tips platform, can be used for a wide variety of marketing purposes like rewards, sale notifications, reminders, product recommendations, more to help drive shoppers into your stores.

  5. Tap Social Media

    More and more consumers are showing us that they want to connect through real-life experiences. Some smart brands have already begun to take notice with the help of social media. Bloomingdale’s and Adidas, for example, are gamifying the in-store experience with snapchat scavenger hunts. Bloomingdale’s actually created a 2016 fall 100% campaign, where it launched a nationwide in-store scavenger hunt sweepstakes using specialized Snapchat geofilters. Hundreds of filters were placed in locations throughout stores for Snapchat users to find. And, by taking selfies with the hidden filters and direct messaging them to Bloomingdale’s, shoppers won prizes like gift cards and fall merchandise. Obviously, snapchat isn’t your only option here, we’ve also seen a pop-up tweet shop from Marc Jacobs and a twitter-activated vending machine from Eddie Bauer to name a few others. But, the possibilities are up to you and how creative you want to be—the idea for social media not really being capable of moving the needle and being tangible or immeasurable is quickly being proven wrong.

Image Copyright: william87 / 123RF Stock Photo

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