Christmas is the time of contemplation and charity. Not so in retail: The battle for market share between e-commerce and the traditional retail business is raging particularly violently at the turn of the year.
Flashing shops with traditional fairy lights and golden Christmas decorations in the inner cities can not hide the fact that more and more presents are ordered online for the festival. Amazon has its nose in the Christmas business as a search engine by far ahead. Looking at the forecasts, there is already a hangover mood at the local retailer: While the preference for offline shopping is rapidly falling, online commerce is increasingly picking up sales.
Also interesting: Germans buy Christmas gifts more often on the net
What options do stationary dealers have to defend themselves? Even traders who sell online and offline are challenged to maintain the often strategically important stationary business. Ironically, one opportunity is to use online campaigns as a source of store traffic.
ROPO: Research online, buy offline
Just a few years ago, brick-and-mortar stores complained to customers who sought advice to order the item online. Today, the opposite is the case: Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) is the magic word. According to Google statistics, six out of every ten Internet users check the availability of a product before going to the nearest store.
The effect of online measures on offline purchases should not be underestimated. But in most companies’ calculations, such interactions are not yet taken into account. This could change in the future, as the big advertisers have long recognized the growing need for the link between the online and offline worlds.
Google is working hard on omnichannel formats
In particular, Google has been working hard for a while to give advertisers more insights into omnichannel marketing. Dealers can already measure the number of store visits initiated online using appropriately set up My Business accounts linked to Google Ads.
Advertisers can analyze which campaigns, keywords, and devices attract especially large numbers of visitors to their business. Only recently has Google also enabled the segmentation of new and returning shop visitors. Google also offers interesting features for campaign control: Bids can be automatically increased within a defined radius around a store.
From simple geo-targeting to Local Inventory Ads
In addition to bidding in the location environment, Google offers other opportunities in omnichannel marketing. No rocket science and for any company are feasible local campaigns that use location-based search terms such as “shoes stuttgart”.
In addition, a geotargeting can be used, for example, for ad extensions with local actions that are played depending on the postal code.
GPS-based influences on ad control have long been standard, but gain in relevance in times of “Mobile First”. Challenging are the requirements if dealers want to switch so-called “Local Inventory Ads”. These are specialized shopping campaigns that access a local data feed and identify the availability of a product in a particular location.
Facebook: Attract visitors to the store with Local Awareness Ads
Facebook also offers its own advertising format to specifically provoke business visits. However, it is more suitable for smaller shops such as the boutique next door.
Local ads are shown to people when they are near business locations. Additional local contextual information such as the map and a call-to-action button are designed to help customers visit the store.
Campaign evaluation under omnichannel perspective
Anyone who takes the topic of omnichannel seriously should not only use features and, for example, measure store visits, but also consider the effects in their overall plan. Those who do not consider the interactions between online and offline steer their budgets and campaigns simply inaccurate and miss the opportunity to make better decisions taking into account all parameters.
The better measurability of offline sales triggered online could generate the confidence that finally makes the topic a breakthrough. For this not only technical prerequisites have to be created, but in particular also organizational points have to be set within the company.
Strong marketing for strong brands
Digitalization should bring growth, but not just for the big players. The middle class also uses this opportunity for itself. Only how, is the question. For example, how does Sport Schuster act in terms of marketing? The LEAD Bookazine 3/2018 shows how small and medium-sized businesses shape marketing in the digital age. Customer needs and own values - that’s why it should work.
Omnichannel requires the breaking up of silos
Establishing and enforcing an omnichannel strategy requires a high level of coordination and sometimes new demands on the employees. The customer data of different channels must be merged and merge in an overall plan. In many places, the Silkenken between online and offline managers stands in the way.
The routines and views of the online team and legacy marketing department in store operations are often miles apart. But only in the overall view can it be possible to strategically consider omnichannel effects and to translate them into revenue for the entire company.
Also interesting: Survey: These features every online store should have at Christmas time
About the author: Wolfgang Schilling is the founder and managing director of the performance marketing agency ad agents GmbH. Thanks to his many years of professional experience in off-line and online trading, Wolfgang Schilling knows the changing challenges facing advertisers.