Shifting North American demographics means that while older consumers still desire brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, the younger generation gravitates toward using phones to purchase basics such as diapers and paper towels online.
This trend has hurt huge retailers in recent years, with Wal-Mart sales dipping for the seventh quarter in a row and Target pushing longer hours to recapture sales. In response, some large retailers are developing unique shopping apps and in-store mobile ads, among other tech-savvy offerings.
While your local business may lack the deep pockets of a national chain, there are some tactics you can employ to attract younger customers whose default is online shopping, not browsing the aisles of local stores.
Three tips for attracting online shoppers to your local business:
1. Make an easy bridge between the real world and online.
Your website should be clean and well-designed with a generous amount of whitespace. Maintain an online shopping cart, even if you only stock it with best sellers. Consider offering a buy online/pick it up in person service. Customers love immediate gratification. Tuck in-store coupon codes into Facebook status updates.
2. Plan special events that wow.
Some retail businesses are built for a real-world experience such as women’s clothing, makeup and shoe stores, to name a few. This is where special events such as trunk shows, open houses, VIP shopping and stellar customer service come in. Give your customers a reason to put the phone down and walk inside.
3. Offer social proof.
Consumers are ravenous for reviews and testimonials. Turn reviews on in your online shopping cart. Have a graphic designer shape your Yelp reviews into a series of jpegs to post on Facebook and Instagram. Do an in-store fashion show and post it on YouTube. Showcase product demos each Thursday morning, paired with a carton of coffee from the local coffee shop.
Don’t fear showrooming or demographic trends. Use them to your advantage and tweak your retail marketing for the best results, whatever the generation!
Olga is a Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing Operations at Connectivity.