7 tips and 1 must-have on how to leverage mobile push notifications to drive in-store traffic
As online sales increase year-on-year, and as e-commerce continues to grow, brick-and-mortar retailers need to adapt to the market to beat their pure player competitors. Retailers are constantly searching for more efficient ways to bring in foot traffic to their stores, while not cannibalising their online revenues. Drive-to-store is an effective method in combining efforts of brick and mortar and e-commerce retail to increase sales.
Drive to store is a summum of multiple tactics, from visibility both online (store related information on your own website, localised store ads, local product search results and inventory ads, SEO, SEA, retargeting based on your website’s local store pages etc.) and onsite (e.g. optimisation of the store entrance, exteriors, signage and overall customer experience to attract the maximum of people to visit your store) to effective marketing campaigns across channels and customer touch points.
Today, Mobile is radically changing the approach to drive-to-store as it enables the collection of extremely precise behavioural, preference and geolocated data. In addition, these practices are heavily regulated by the GDPR that came into force last May, requiring the explicit consent of the consumer, which implies demonstrating the value provided by your service.
Push notifications are an excellent way to engage audience with drive-to-store formats. In case you own a mobile application, you can build effective drive-to-store campaigns using app push notification campaigns and leverage also a Message Center feature (i.e. an in-app inbox) allowing users to save their push notification messages for later viewing. In case you don’t, you can always use Web (or browser) push notifications that do not require owning an app. Ideally, both channels are complementary in building your digital marketing strategy.
Here are a few tips for successful drive-to-store tactics using push notifications:
1. Personalise your messaging based on user preferences
The key is to find out what your customers want out of the in-store experience and highlight that experience in your drive-to-store campaigns.
Source: Think with Google
Mobile offers unparalleled opportunities to personalise your consumer experience based on mobile user data (preferences and behaviour on the app, campaigns engaged etc.).
Advanced platforms allow you also to optimise your messaging with fine segmentation, A/B testing and preference centre features. With interactive mobile surveys you can also leverage consumer feedback and retarget users based on survey answers.
Combining data from other channels enable retailers to build a real customer profile and offer their consumers a seamless omni-channel customer experience.
Examples of personalised mobile push notification campaigns:
2. Use a call to action to see or try a product in-store
A recent survey from Deloitte found that over half of consumers still prefer to shop in-store to ‘interact with products’ (and some of them also to avoid shipping costs, or getting gift ideas and inspiration). This is particularly true for durable and higher-priced categories such as consumer electronics. In another study form Retail Dive 56% of shoppers said they visit stores, at least occasionally, to first see, touch and feel products…. before buying them online.
As a result, more and more retailers are turning their physical retail spaces into showrooms where customers can try and test products before making the final purchase online (so called “Showrooming”). These showrooming visits are a chance for you to immerse consumers in your brand experience and induce them to buy the product they came to see using for example bounce back offers/coupons or make other impulse purchases.
On the other hand, consumers are increasingly “Webrooming”, that is, browsing online and buying in-store. Some of the main reasons include:
– knowledgeable advice from in-store sales staff
– better in-store brand experience
– in-store pick-up for online orders
– special in-store offers
– avoiding shipping costs
– not having to wait for product delivery
– not beneficial return policy for online product
Take advantage of drive-to-store tactics to make showrooming and webrooming work on your favour and generate more revenues!
Source : Nike by Jack Donegan
Example of a call to action to try a product in-store:
3. Offer in-store pick-up for online or in-app purchases
Research from the Wall Street Journal showed that about 50% of shoppers opted for in-store pickup, and 45% of those consumers purchased something else during their trip to the store! In-store pick-up is advantageous not only from customer experience perspective; it also generates additional revenues as while in-store, consumers tend to make impulse purchases.
Consumers have come to rely on click-and-collect services, and mobile is a key part of the experience. A study in February by Opinion Research Corp. for ICSC found that nearly three-quarters of shoppers have made a purchase using their mobile device and picked up the product in store. More than half said they would like to compile a shopping list on a store app and receive a floor map to locate products (source: e-Marketer).
Mobile is also an excellent tool to seek out customer feedback after the product pick-up, to improve the experience and make it as seamless as possible, so your customers will opt for in-store pick-up also in the future.
Source: Retail Trends and Predictions 2016 – Kohl’s department store
Example of a push notification survey after in-store product pick-up:
4. Promote in-store only sales and offers
91% of shoppers say a promotion is likely to change their buying behaviour. One of the most effective ways to increase foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores is to offer deals and discounts that customers can only enjoy when popping up in a physical store.
Push notification campaigns enable to send out personalised offers and mobile coupons to the right users at the right time and bring them to the store.
Source: Hostadvice, 2017
Source: LSA Insider
Example of a push notification campaign promoting an in-store only offer:
Example of an in-store only voucher sent via an app push notification campaign:
5. Invite to unique in-store experiences and events
If you want to give consumers a good reason to go out on the streets and visit your brick-and-mortar store, you must provide them with an experience and entertainment they cannot get while shopping online. In-store events, such as private sales and VIP events sales and exclusive in-store experiences are a great way to get shoppers in your brick-and-mortar store.
Example of a push notification campaign promoting an in-store only experience:
6. Leverage proximity marketing via geolocalisation
Send location-based push notifications to mobile users using GPS-enabled geographic data to trigger a personalised drive-to-store campaign when a mobile user is entering/leaving a specified zone – usually nearby your local store- or dwelling there over a period of time.
Geofencing complements geolocation with more accurate location-data. It enables mapping the mobile user’s journey and helps to measure the drive-to-store impact of your push notifications. You can send users push notifications including coupons, promotions or other targeted offers and events in the proximity of your local brick-and-mortar store.
Research by Google revealed that 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store. So why not target also shoppers who are visiting your competitor’s store and nudge them with an offer they cannot miss!
Example of a push notification using geolocation:
7. Mesure the performance of your drive-to-store efforts
Mobile enables easily to track who engages with your drive-to-store campaigns. For example, if your push notification campaign consists of a coupon with a unique barcode, it is very easy to track as the user presents the barcode for scanning during the in-store check-out.
If you are not using personalised coupons or vouchers within your push notification campaign, you can track those users who came to your store using geolocation combined with mobile surveys to quantify the impact on in-store visits.
In terms of in-store pick-up, you can track how many customers came in to the store to collect their product (tip: advance payment online allows you to skip this part as customers are unlikely to leave a product in-store that they have already paid for), and how many shoppers bought something else at the same time.
8. The impact of the GDPR, a must-have!
Last but not least, make sure you are fully compliant with the GDPR while collecting opt-in of your app/web users, including geolocation! Since May 25th, brands can no longer hide behind a never-ending terms and conditions sheet. Instead, they must be clear and transparent of how and why they collect consumer data, and for which purposes in order to obtain an explicit consent of the user.
Go further by empowering your mobile app users with a Preference Center where your users can adjust the elements of their experience and marketing push pressure by themselves. A more timely and relevant messaging also helps to keep your users engaged and decreases churn.
To sum up
Mobile push notifications provide the finest behavioural, preference and location data to build targeted and hyper-personalised drive-to-store campaigns and generate foot traffic at your brick and mortar stores. Combined with advanced analytics, they allow to easily track the true performance of your campaigns.
Contact us if you would like to know more about building effective drive-to-store campaigns via push notifications!