Let’s get digital – part one

In today’s highly competitive environment, electrical retailers who cannot be found online may not be considered when the consumer makes a decision about not just what to buy, but also where – whether the purchase is made online or in-store.

By Daniel Todaro

It was revealed that 57 per cent of the world’s population is now online in a recent report by Hootsuite and We Are Social. With a 9.1 per cent growth in 2018, it is becoming rapidly advisable to adopt an omni-channel approach to retail and to create a digital marketing strategy, if retailers are to compete effectively against strong online competition and high street challenges.

With the amount of digital users rising, those independent retailers that firmly believe it’s ‘not for them’ are increasingly alienating themselves. If you’ve used social media or engaged with a brand online in your personal life, just imagine that your customers are doing the same.

With such a large pool of potential consumers available online, why wouldn’t an independent retailer make the most of digital marketing, and in particular, social media?

A digital marketing strategy does not always require a large budget like retail giants Amazon and Currys PC World. Independent retailers can expand their reach beyond their local community and stand out with a limited budget, it just requires a plan that is SMART.

By getting to know your market and creating tailored content, a digital strategy can increase footfall in-store and sales off and online. Research by Sprout Social revealed that 78 per cent of consumers chose to visit the physical brand’s stores after ‘following’ them online. In the considered purchases category, consumers still want to go to stores for the experience – if you give them a reason to.

Get social

People respond to different techniques across various digital platforms; knowing how to connect with the target audience is important. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can all help grow customer relationships and drive sales, but only if the target audience is using them. Try to keep your accounts as up to date as possible; idle platforms may reflect badly on the business.

Gather casual research in-store to create a successful strategy around targeting your consumers and communicating with them via their preferred methods.

Social platforms can help build brand loyalty, leading the shopper in-store. The internet is a hub of constant conversations or viral trends and retailers should look for topical areas where they can get involved. Don’t be afraid to join in with the more fun trends that sweep the internet, such as baking like a contestant on The Great British Bake Off or MasterChef.

Ultimately, the main aim is to get people in-store. Social media is the ideal platform for retailers to post promotions, new products, launches and in-store events so that customers are engaged and inspired to walk in. Also, consider direct digital marketing by creating a consumer database and sending emails to promote payday offers or seasonal products with a view to drive footfall.

Stay on track

Consumer feedback, good or bad, is vital information for the future of the digital strategy. Engage with consumer feedback, address the issue and use this as a chance to direct them in-store or to offer a chance to try another product. Collecting as much information as possible from the feedback can aid in understanding the consumer, making it easier to sell to them and others. Don’t forget, your reputation online lasts forever.

Ensure that all campaigns are tracked by measuring the number of customers that have gone into your store as a result of seeing an online advert or post. This will help you understand what did and didn’t work. Using promotional codes or keywords and training your staff to start a conversation with consumers can help with tracking.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the ‘Let’s Get Digital’ series, coming soon on