Digital Strategies to Drive Retail Traffic

Driving retail foot traffic from digital marketingMost retailers rely on media to support store openings and store events as well as for lifting sales of struggling retail locations. Drive-to-retail marketing plans have typically consisted of radio, print and TV in order to build awareness, but more recently, digital has become an increasingly important component of the media mix.

What makes digital unique relative to traditional forms of media is the level of targeting and sophistication that the others can’t provide. 

Display, in particular, is a great top-of-funnel driver; although, its effectiveness can be difficult to measure since click-through-rate is not a very insightful metric when the key outcome is ultimately increased foot traffic.  That said, with a strong call-to-action, click-through-rate could be useful when evaluating the success of pushed coupons.  Coupon redemption, though, would be the primary measurement.

Display is known to be a top-of-the-funnel conversion driver to other digital channels, too, which can be measured using attribution technologies such as Adometry, Convertro, and ClearSaleing.  In lieu of using one of these technologies, measuring the lift in paid search impressions could be a good barometer of success.  Neither attribution tactic can get to the heart of increased foot traffic, though.  However, foot traffic resulting from display efforts could be extrapolated if using Google’s in-store analytics that measures traffic lifts and, more recently, conversions that transpire in retail locations that originated from paid search advertising.  Tying that info back to the lift in search impressions resulting from display advertising could provide a round- about read that could be useful and telling.

Other display measurement techniques include:

  • Brand recall studies for measuring awareness from banner advertising.
  • A lift in website traffic
  • Engagement metrics for social display such as social subscribers, shares, likes, video views, etc.

Paid search can be effective in driving foot traffic, as well. That said, because search is a pull rather than push channel, the opportunity will be more limited.  Geo-targeting within 15 miles of store locations is a best practice with paid search as is incorporating location extensions.  Switching out ad copy messaging for when stores are open vs. closed can support both drive-to-retail and ecommerce efforts if coordinated properly.

Marketers should be mindful of their SEO, too, when it comes to driving retail traffic. Ensuring the store locator page is spiderable will ensure listings have good visibility as well as including hours of operations in schema markup.  Google Places is one of the least user-friendly Google tools out there, but considering it was created precisely with drive-to-retail in mind, the payoff for visibility is big enough to warrant the effort it takes to properly execute.

As Holiday approaches, drive –to-retail marketing tactics increase in importance, especially after shipping cutoffs have passed for ecommerce. Knowing how and when to apply these strategies effectively will maximize every dollar in the all-important Q4 as well as throughout the year, as needed.

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