Back in times someone said that e-commerce would kill retail. Well, it seems they were wrong because people still love in-store shopping. In fact, researches show that in 2017 for each company that closed a physical store, 2.7 companies opened one. What does this mean? Yes, we’ll say it again – people still love the process of walking to a store, physically inspect a product, and buy it.
Some may think that this is irrational like “Why someone would bother walking to a store while they can easily see it online and purchase it, from their very own couch?” or “Why waste time in traffic to find a physical store while you can purchase it from your phone and save that time for better things?”. Well, the reasons are obvious and pretty logical. Physical stores provide some things that online stores can’t, such as:
Physical inspection of a product. The customer can see it in real time, touch it, smell it, get some real feel of the product they want to buy. When it comes to online shopping, it’s hard even to imagine the real dimensions of a product.
Negotiations. Customers can negotiate a better deal when they have physical contact with the seller. You know, psychology and stuff. Not that you can’t try to negotiate a discount via e-mail, but admit it, it’s harder online than offline. When you stand up face to face with the sales person and tell them that you’re looking for a deal, the latter has very little time to consider how to react. While online, the seller gets your message and has some time to consider if a discount for you would bring him any benefits.
Logistics. You know that feeling of waiting for a desired product. Three days seem like three decades. And the shipping costs. Now imagine – you go to a physical store, physically inspect your desired product, negotiate a deal, pay to the cashier and open the package right after you passed through checkout. That’s why some people still prefer to walk to a store and get what they want.
Returns. Admit it, returning a product bought online has its hassles. First, you contact the seller, place your claim, then wait for the seller to acknowledge it and send you instructions for return, then give the product to a delivery guy and wait a few weeks for your money to be restored (or product replaced). How is it done in physical stores? A walk to the store, give your product to the person behind the counter, maybe fill in a document or two, wait a bit and get your replacement or money back instantly. See the difference?
Personal information. With all the fuzz around GDPR people got a bit suspicious when it comes to sharing their personal data, especially when it comes to filling in names, addresses, and credit card info on a random webpage. When you buy from a physical store nobody asks you for your name, address or credit card info. You just get what you want, pass your card through a device, get your receipt and walk away. That’s all.
Now, after we’ve paid some overly special attention to the reasons why people still prefer physical stores, it’s time to get to the real deal – how to increase local foot traffic with online advertising? You can easily utilize your Google Ads campaigns to drive more offline sales in your physical stores. Here’s how:
Local Ad Extension
Your store’s location can be shown within your ad at no extra cost. All you have to do is get a Google My Business, place your business on the map and then activate the feature in Ads & Extensions in your Google Ads account. Remember, the Google My Business account must be the same account you use for Google Ads. Sounds so simple yet, it has an amazing exposure. With your address seen people get the feeling that you’re real, they can visit and touch you, talk to you. No matter if they’d prefer purchasing online or walk to the store. This extension will boost your sales.
Additionally, Google has enabled location extensions and store visit measurements on YouTube. With that you can include your physical store in your in-stream and bumper ads which people can easily follow. And you can measure and find which ads perform better and drive more in-store traffic.
You can use this extension to add your current deals to your online campaigns. How can you use it for driving more foot traffic? Well, you can create different deals for those who purchase online and those who buy from physical stores. For instance, if you have too many red shoes left in your store’s storage space, you can design a special offer for those who would come to the store and promote it online. Something like: “Come. Try. See how they fit your style. Get a special in-store deal and buy”. It would be nice to state clearly that the promotion is available in-store only. Combine such deal with one for those who prefer online shopping (so they won’t feel discriminated) and your ad with promo extension is ready to go.
Psst, the promotion extension can also show product prices within the ad. If you’re a business that offers services requiring physical contact (beauty salon, swimming pool, etc.) you can still advertise your business online. Think of all the mobile phone users who search for a service while on the go. Create an online ad campaign, add the location and promotion extensions and get noticed among all your competitors.
Click-to-text Message Extension
Let’s get back to the customer for a bit. The “research online, buy offline” movement is on the rise. Many people prefer researching a desired product online first – they look for reviews, compare prices, search for deals, etc. Then they go to a chosen store, physically inspect the product and buy it. And here’s the click-to-text message extension – to help customers and retailers contact easily. Google says that 65% of consumers would prefer scheduling an in-person appointment via messaging. They also prefer messaging to get more info on a product or service. And this becomes even easier with the chatbot implementations. So, why not use it in advertising? Google Ads has already thought about it and created the click-to-text extension which allows consumers to message the advertiser/business owner/retailer. With a simple click/tap they are redirected to their messaging app and can easily send their text. Additionally, it’s a smart move when it comes to people who don’t like making phone calls and the message extension is a perfect solution to get those consumers.
If you want to drive more foot traffic to your physical store consider optimizing your ads. You can create an ad that invites people near your store (and searching for related stuff) using all the extensions above and running it during the high traffic hours. This way you’ll optimize your ad budget as well. For example, if you’re a local bar and offer “happy hours”. Run an ad that targets people near the location using geo-targeting, add your promotion and location extensions telling people what deal they get and where they can get it. Don’t forget the messaging extension so they can contact you for further information. Then schedule it to run during the “happy hour”. Got the idea?
In conclusion, we can say that there are numerous ways to combine your online and offline advertising to drive more traffic to both your online and physical stores. And Google Ads makes it easy to increase traffic to both without increasing your advertising budget. So, we strongly recommend you to discover the power of Google Ads and find out how you can increase traffic and sales even more no matter if online of in-store.