Jessica Dalpiaz :

We’ve all heard that online retailers like Amazon are on the verge of eating small brick-and-mortar retailers out of existence. Lots of data has come out to back this up. According to a Fleishman Hillard study, nearly 90% of consumers surveyed use Internet search engines to make purchasing decisions. This demonstrates the importance of having an online presence no matter what kind of shop you are. However, business trends still show proof of the smaller entrepreneur, especially female ones, starting up shops and doing well with them. How does this wash?

In a study done by Pew asking teenagers if they shopped online, the answer was almost 80% “yes” for both girls and boys—but when they were asked whether they preferred shopping online or in stores, almost 80% preferred in store. More than likely, this is because brick-and-mortar retailers provide more than just products—they deliver an experience and social atmosphere most people still crave.

So how do smaller retailers bridge the gap between their online presence and getting the customers in the stores to make purchases?

Case study:

I wanted some new snow boots for a trip to the mountains, but when I Googled the brand and style I was interested in to find a store in town where I could check them out/buy them, no results came up. I wondered … surely there is a shop here in Portland that carries some of these styles (the brand is even local!)—why isn’t Google finding them for me?

A recent article in Forbes sums up this missing piece of retail marketing:

“If a woman is looking for a moisturizer, she may search by problem, by solution, by product type, by product name and/or by brand. For instance, if I’m looking for a moisturizer, am I searching the words ‘dry skin’, under the word ‘moisturize’, or ‘moisturizer’, or am I searching ‘Estee Lauder’?

The takeaway from this is that presence on the Internet helps companies become an authority figure online, where women shop first. And since online is how busy women shoppers plot out their shopping mall expeditions, online presence could even usurp a brand’s brick and mortar experience.”

It’s a two-step process. First: Use Google Tools and Trends to expand your searchable keywords (to include product names, brand, etc.), and suddenly you’ll have new customers walking in your physical door—ones who may not have found you had you just been listed under searches for your shop name or other randomly chosen adjectives. Second: Transform your new customers into loyal return customers with your consistent and thoughtful in-store experience.

It’s worth noting that women research products more than men before purchasing—and they spend 80% of the household budget. Women also want to trust and be loyal to brands and retailers—and they take note when there are inconsistencies in what they’ve seen online and are looking at in store. Therefore it is also crucial to start at step 1 when building a brand look and feel and staying loyal to it across all mediums.

Maintaining a consistent voice in this moving and shifting world between an Internet experience and a physical shop creates trust, especially when expanding one shop into multiple locations. When the consumer sees your logo/name, they should always know who you are and what you stand for—no matter how the winds shift, the consumer moves, and marketing tactics move with them. With consistency comes loyalty.

Clutched Key can help you define and refine your brand voice and structure marketing initiatives to promote them.