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Updated: Sep 23, 2019

Credit by: Marie Fincher

Can a brick and mortar business use Social Media to attract more customers? It seems that everybody researches products online, so is it a good idea to use it if many consumers still prefer to buy from E-Commerce stores?

As research on consumer habits shows, using Social Media for promotion of physical stores is a viable strategy. In fact, this 2017 report suggested that 88 percent of customers research products online before visiting a physical store and making the purchase. Moreover, this 2017 study from Bazaarvoice found that 45 percent of the surveyed brick-and-mortar customers also said they read online reviews before they buy to make sure that the product is worth the price.

On top of that, many customers are monitoring the activity of their favorite brands on Social Media, so maintaining a positive image is simply a must for brick and mortar. However, it’s a known fact that many of them are struggling with generating business through Social Media.

That’s why we’re going to share four strategies on how to grow a retail business using popular Social Media strategies.

1. Announce Sales through Social Media

In addition to your traditional marketing channel, Social Media should become an important method to connect with customers directly. One way to attract more visitors to your store is to share information about upcoming sales and other promotions.

Here’s what you should include in your message:

  • Details of the event, e.g. if it’s a sale, share the discount details, time limit, discounted products, etc.

  • Location of the store hosting the sale. Make it clear whether your chain or a specific store is hosting the sale

  • Call to action (CTA). The copy of your message should contain a textual CTA to encourage the viewers to come and check out what you have to offer, e.g. “We’re waiting for you”

2. Focus on Specific Products

Online shops can easily track behaviors of their customers by analyzing their purchase history and send them re-engagement emails to encourage to return and take one more look at the items.

  • Let’s suppose that a particular product is selling really fast, so it’s quite possible that it’ll run out in a week or even less. “To generate some additional interest among your customers, you can share a post on Social Media (e.g. Instagram or Facebook) saying that the number of units of that product is quickly selling out, so they need to hurry if they want it,” recommends Sam Horton, a Social Media marketer from Trust My Paper. “This way, you’re introducing a sense of urgency to the message, as well as encouraging to visit the store and check out more items.” No one enters a store and ends up looking at only one item, right?

  • Another way to attract more attention by focusing on specific items is to let the customers know about special deals. For example, your store may have some impressive discounts on particular products or other deals that your customers may want to check out, so it’s definitely worth to let them know that they are available for lower prices.

  • Let customers know about new products. Share the news of some new arrivals and exciting products to build anticipation and attract more traffic.

3. Run Contests

Is a free gift from your favorite brand a good reason to visit the store? Of course it is. Many retail brands agree; for example, Victoria Secret has recently conducted a social media campaign in August 2015 where it asked the customers to visit a location and take a selfie in front of a window display. The reward for such an easy and enjoyable project was a free gift from the brand.

Not only they were able to increase in-store traffic during the time the contest ran, but also raised awareness of the upcoming range of products, the Tease perfume line. Therefore, they asked the participants to use specific tags - #VSTease and #VSTGift in their posts. Not surprisingly, tech-savvy customers such as Millennials were excited to participate.

“In-store selfies tied to Social Media are a great way for retailers to drive traffic to their stores and engage shoppers,” Retail Drive quoted Ken Morris from Boston Retail Partners, as saying. “Social shopping, with likes and dislikes, is becoming prevalent among Millennials.”

So, if Millennials are your target audience, it makes a perfect sense to use Social Media to run a selfie contest of campaign and encourage them to come to your store. However, keep in mind that contests like this one should only be conducted if your brand has sizable social followership; it’s important that your brand has a strong Social Media voice.

4. Collect Feedback by Asking Questions

Customer-centeredness is critical for today’s businesses to design products, and Social Media is an excellent way to survey customers and get the information you need for making strategic decisions. Remember, Social Media accounts of your store shouldn’t be only about sales and promotions; while many people follow brands online in pursuit of good deals, a much more important goal is to sell your brand.

Obviously, you can’t build a customer-centered brand without listening to the customers, so you can use Social Media to pick people’s brains on product suggestions, ask them their favorite products, and inquire about other topics that are important for your long-term strategy. The feedback you collect, can be used to inform product strategies and identify the preferences of your target audience.

Social Media Matters for Retail.

Although it may seem that customers prefer to shop online, research suggests that many of them use online resources like Social Media for many purposes, including staying up to date with brand news, getting promotions, and following brands they love. Of course, there are more ways to grow your retail business through the power of Social Media, but these four ideas should help you to get a great start with Social Media strategy and let it attract more traffic to your store.

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