Digital can influence a majority of brick and mortar sales in 2022. How?, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Representative image (source: iStock)

In March 2020, the outbreak of the coronavirus overnight impacted the shutting down of all brick and mortar stores. Selective restrictions, supply chain disruption, and restrictive number of people in store impacted how they traditionally do business. All these factors resulted in COVID-19 rewriting the rules of consumer shopping and retail. A report from McKinsey shows that consumers are likely to keep the behaviors they’ve adopted amid stay-at-home orders instead of going to the store physically and shop.

Consumer behavior changing: Pre-covid, while the queries for searching before landing to a physical store were gradually rising; pandemic propelled it. We saw a change in consumer behavior and how they shop. It has been observed that people are more interested in knowing about the offerings before they visit a store. Something as simple as store timings, availability of products, has been the basics of what users want to check before they drive to the store.

The consumers have become more conscious of what they are buying, when they are buying and why they are buying it. Hence, one clear behavior pattern that has stood out since the pandemic, is heightened buying awareness.

Impact: As per a study done by Google, consumer’s offline actions are inspired by their online behavior as 88% of consumers will call or visit a business within 24hours of making search from a mobile device and 72% of users who did a Google search visited a business within 8km of where they were searching. This pushes all businesses to accelerate their digital adoption and transform their operation to meet the customers in the moment that matters, and deliver the experience they are looking for.

Organic Discoverability: When it comes to search; Google (the leader in search market) or any other search engine prioritizes brands which have consistent, accurate and up to date information. Search is a massive channel for most businesses’ website customer acquisition and a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement. It is important that the name, address, and phone number is accurate and consistent.

The key is to provide all the information on their digital platform and make sure that the customer interaction is consistent across all location pages.

Seamless user journey: Search is a potent tool which helps brands to reach high intent users who are ready to transact. Imagine landing on a page wherein you have no information or wrong information. This will lead to customers losing trust in the brand and creates a disconnect with the consumer.

Single interface ensures that we provide brands with multi location presence a holistic solution wherein they can ensure that they have accurate and upto date presence, they can engage with their potential customers and also let them transact digitally from their physical stores. It ensures that the consumer journey is not broken but facilitated to help generate revenue for the brand.

Challenge: It might be easy to maintain the information in just a few stores, but imagine maintaining it across thousands of stores. SingleInterafce’s hyperlocal marketing to commerce SaaS platform allows you to have location specific offers, information, product feeds all through a single platform. Be it creation of vernacular content or displaying location specific product information, SingleInterface makes it reliable, accurate and easy and we have been doing this for more than 2,00,000 locations at a go.

Integrating offline and online stores: Having an online presence creates a frictionless customer experience. Whichever medium you advertise – a consumer would interact first by searching for your brand. It is here that a brick store needs to optimize its every location to provide a seamless experience to their customers who are beginning their single purchase journey online.

This can be done by having a mobile friendly digital presence, through publishing accurate and up to date information across the digital ecosystem, providing seamless digital channels like chat to engage with customers and enabling hyperlocal e-commerce. ,

Impact:

A recent report mentions that 73% of customers have purchased through online shopping platforms in the past 12 months. Search interest in online shopping and how to buy online has increased by 2X worldwide, another industry report stated. Our platform itself powered around 1 million calls and 2 million directions (to a store/ outlet) in the year 2021.

Customers today are channel-agnostic but more informed than ever before. As customers spend more time self-educating via digital channels, the involvement of the sales teams has shifted to the very top – to the channels of awareness, the author writes…

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