Retailer’s Guide to Social Media: 5 Tips To Increase In-Store Sales
Published 2017-03-09

Retailer’s Guide to Social Media: 5 Tips To Increase In-Store Sales

In one fell swoop, Angela Ahrendts changed the course of Burberry’s doomed prophecy into a burnished legacy.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Burberry owes its restored glory to Ahrendts’ canny use of e-commerce selling and, later, social media to drive sales.

Real, hard sales. Not likes, shares, or subscribes.

We’re talking actual and measurable revenue. In fact, in 2016, Burberry’s report for net profit for the previous fiscal year was £421 million worldwide.

Compare this with Ebay-homegrown-seller Sophia Amoruso’s “Nasty Gal” that took the opposite trajectory: the company went from e-commerce to physical locations, to their much-publicized fall.

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, a physical location or enterprise, then it’s time to harness the (often free or extremely low cost) social media tools at your disposal to grow your in-store sales.

Luckily, we’ve put together a “Retailer’s Guide to Social Media”.

The truth is, if you’re not using social to drive in-store traffic in today’s retail and B2C atmosphere, you’re missing out.

3 Rules For Today’s In-Store Environment

In 2015, Google put out a retail marketing report that studied in-store consumer behaviours, measured changes in the way people buy and the connection they have with digital platforms like their smartphones.

Their conclusions can be summed up in nice little bows with the following three points:

1) Digital initiatives now drive in-store traffic

2) Shoppers now use smartphones like their very own in-store assistants

3) To be able to be successful in the future, retail chains and franchises have to use measurable platforms (like Facebook) rather than Snapchat (while maintaining a “social presence” on both types)

The three big ideas are all centered around one obvious effort: to build a community online that directly translates to a community in-store. A community of willing customers who maintain brand loyalty.

For social media to work, you need to have a clear idea on what you’re using it for. So we suggest your online goals should include:

  • Having actual customers walk in and increasing this number
  • Building and maintaining a strong relationship for repeat business
  • Making in-store purchases a no-brainer
  • Using your efforts to give you insight into (more than revenue, these metrics should include reviews, re-targeting, etc.)
  • Listening to feedback, acting on it and reaching out

1. What About Social Listening?

If you’re a small business with a physical location, a local mom-and-pop shop, a franchisee or manager of a retail chain, the first thing you need to do is accept and believe the gospel: social media has the ability to drive your bottom line.

Are you a believer yet? Good. Stay with us.

Now, your immediate aversion to social media is not entirely a knee-jerk-reaction.

With so many platforms and so much social “chatter” it is not only hard to cut through the noise with your initiative, it can be hard to listen.

Start with listening to customer feedback.

Did you know that online consumer reviews now substitute for more traditional forms of reputation?

Listening to customer feedback is imperative for you to grow and change. But it’s also important if you hope to connect with your customer on a human and authentic level.

Following up on negative feedback because there’s an opportunity there. Simply by addressing the customer’s concern, you can often reverse their experience.

Listening on social media allows retailers to respond and perhaps even win a loyal customer for life based on that interaction.

Remember, customers pull out their phones like “assistants” to help them book hotels, review restaurants on Yelp and find product reviews before buying. 97% of consumers say they find reviews to be incredibly accurate.

Here are a few tools to help practice social listening.

  • Set up a Google Alert service to monitor online mentions and customer reviews. Use these tips to encourage customers to leave a review.
  • You can also use TweetDeck to set up similar Twitter alerts.
  • For centralized, across-the-board management, use an app like Review Trackers.

2. Discounted “Mini” packages and services

Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to advertise a promotional “mini” package or service that leads to a greater product or service.

 This “mini” offering can be a version of what you’re offering for full price or you can use the interest from customers to test a “pilot” service or product.

For example, if you’re a spa offering a higher-end massage service, consider putting a discount on massage products and throwing in a free massage.

3. Book Now, Save Later

Whether you’re hosting an in-store event or you’re simply trying to get your calendar filled for steady service, use social platforms that your target customers live on to reach out about deals on future bookings.

If you’re a restaurant, for example, this could mean offering a customers to book their holiday parties at your venue by a particular date and offering a discount on appetizers for bookings over a certain number.

This reward system works very well as it gives customers a sense of a deal their “winning” because of some well-planned forward-thinking.

You could, of course, go the other way and create a sense of urgency. Use social media to announce an in-store, one-day-only special.

Once your customer is in the store, offer a product or service at a discounted price if they book the service or purchase the product on the spot.

4. Teachables & In-Store Demos

In-store events that are promotional or seasonal are a great way to reward loyal customers and bring in new ones.

But what about doing something for your brand that sets up the ultimate reward: showcasing your expertise and cementing your reputation as a leader in your industry?

Brick-and-mortar businesses should think through the niche they’re operating in and then spearhead community initiatives that really highlight their expertise in the minds of their customers.

B&H Photo Video — Doing Demos Right

For the last 40 years, B&H Photo Video has been the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. Their target customer is aspiring filmmakers, creatives and photographers – one of the services these professionals require is shooting space. So B&H Photo Video rents out event space to their target market.

They also offer workshops around how to work equipment as well as photo software for beginner, amateur and advanced filmmakers and photographers.

Starbucks, as another example, held community coffee tastings and essentials workshop and offering discounts on coffee-related equipment like french presses and grinders.

5. Document, Don’t Create

Look, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. The explosion of social media can be overwhelming but it can also be an incredible opportunity for you to re-use what customers are saying in the form of social proof.

A Little Bit O’ Strategy Goes a Long Way…

Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to peruse your social platforms of choice.

Find hashtags and geo-locating tags to find posts from customers who have visited your stores, are talking about it or are posting photos about them.

Then, showcase or “feature” their post, tagging them by their social handles and sending them a thank you, a shout out or promoting their experience.

At the end of the day…it’s about the men and women on the front lines: your sales people, your baristas. Your store associates and customer experience specialists.

These 5 social media tips are important to build an online community but at the end of the day, it’s human capital, not social quotient, that will turn a “maybe” browser into committed, loyal customer.

Speaking of social media, if you enjoyed this list – feel free to follow us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn and be the first one to read our next article. Do you have any good tips of your own to share? Let us know!


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