Online + Offline: Why Your Retail Strategy Needs Both

Digital marketing tactics — email, social media, landing pages, retargeting — of course, play an essential role in most of today’s marketing campaigns. Yet according to Econsultancy, only 22% of brands are satisfied with the conversion rates of their online marketing. An educated guess why: They’re so hyper-focused on digital, they’re ignoring the tried-and-true techniques that define an effective multichannel strategy.

Today, retail success is all about creating a powerful brand experience. Before there were Facebook ads, when conversions were still called sales, marketers relied less on technology and more on creativity — including stand-out direct mail campaigns — to get foot traffic in the door.

While digital advertising isn’t falling out of fashion any time soon, a fusion of traditional and online marketing strategies can be the right path to improving campaign ROI. Think of it this way — online shopping offers tremendous advantages to consumers, including selection, convenience and very often, price. But retailers also know that face-to-face interaction can be a critical component in building a powerful brand, then leveraging it to create durable, profitable customer relationships.


A tactile, immersive experience

Brick & mortar stores offer a critical touchpoint that today’s shoppers are looking for. A recent Accenture study found that physical stores play an increasingly prominent role in the shopping habits of Millennials and Generation Z. The key to success is blending tech with tactile to present a more personalized experience for buyers.

In the retail setting, marketers need to look beyond promotions and sales to drive foot traffic. That’s why stores are evolving from solely physical inventory holders to interactive enablers of online shopping.

Ralph Lauren’s NYC flagship store, for example, features connected fitting rooms that enable the brand to form deeper bonds with its consumers. The space is outfitted with unique technology that recognizes a customer’s items, shows what other colors and sizes are available, and makes recommendations based on their selections. Don’t like the way you look in fluorescent lighting? In a connected fitting room, shoppers can adjust the lighting to a favorable setting to improve their overall brand experience.

Other retailers are introducing self-checkout, making the payment process as simple as a few clicks of the screen. Amazon Go — now with locations in the Pacific Northwest and Chicago — is a grocery store that has completely removed the barrier of a checkout line. Thanks to smart sensors, customers can walk in, grab their items and leave, as purchases are automatically tracked when they walk out the door.

Even if your brand can’t go that high-tech, success is still about offering customers unique experiences that add a complementary dimension to their online shopping habits.


Bringing buyers to your door

So, how do you get the word out and drive qualified foot traffic to your physical brand experience? The d3 Specialists digital marketing pros recommend a complementary approach that blends online and offline touches.

Take postal mail, for example. For modern-day marketers, direct mail isn’t just a nostalgic throwback, but a touchpoint staple that has helped brands engage and convert for decades.

According to the 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail response rates average 9% to a house list and 5% to a prospect list. Over 100 million adults made a catalog purchase in 2016. Printed letters, catalogs, and brochures remain an effective target marketing method for encouraging customers to take advantage of special offers and promotions.

Today, marketers can blend the strengths of digital and direct with tools like triggered postcards, which allow you to remarket to site visitors with personalized direct mail postcards based on their on-site activity. Triggered postcards are great for reaching site visitors who haven’t yet opted into your email list, or subscribers with a pattern of disengagement.

No matter how you use it, direct mail is a proven follow-up tool for prospects you reach in your digital marketing campaign. Find out how d3’s parent company Specialists Marketing Services can help you leverage third-party or CRM data to ensure that the right message arrives in the right hands.


Related Questions

What is a preferred method for sending more effective, personalized direct mail?

To take customer engagement to the next level — and ultimately increase sales — the triggered direct mail tactic mentioned above is one of the most powerful tools available. Trigger-based messaging allows you to recognize customers for their purchasing behaviors, on-site actions or milestones — like if they’re a few dollars away from their next loyalty reward. You can send a trigger direct mail postcard, for example, based on browsing habits, buying patterns or cart abandons to get them back on the path to purchase.


What’s the best way to reach the new movers market?

New movers use varying channels throughout the moving process to research and find a variety of products and services. To make a real impact, your new mover campaign should deliver cohesive online and offline messaging. Industry sources report that the majority (69%) of new movers say they enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail, and 41% pay more attention to information received by postal mail. Nonetheless, 59% of new movers found that online information was more helpful than what they received via postal mail because online gives you the real estate to share a more in-depth value proposition. So, the right multichannel mix can help you cover all the bases.