Between COVID-19 and the increasingly competitive retail landscape, attracting traffic to your retail location is quite a challenge. And while traditional ways of driving foot traffic — like window displays and word-of-mouth — are still effective, you can’t rely on them alone to encourage store visits. You need to have a strong digital marketing strategy and use online and mobile tools to drive footfall.
With 90% of global shoppers saying they used online search before visiting a store, it’s important to ensure your online presence is both robust and up-to-date. Here are a couple of ways to do just that.
Create a strong Business Profile on Google My Business
Putting your business on the map — Google Maps, that is — starts with setting up your Business Profile on Google My Business.
If you haven’t done so yet, head to the Google My Business site and set up (or claim) your listing from there. The process involves providing your company info and verifying ownership over the phone, via SMS, or by requesting and receiving a postcard to your address from Google.
Once that step is complete, manage your Business Profile by adding and editing as many details as possible including your contact details and store hours so customers know when and how to contact you.
Whenever possible, go beyond just providing basic info by adding photos of your store and encouraging your customers to rate and review your business. These things make your Business Profile a lot more attractive and enticing to shoppers.
An excellent example of a Business Profile on Google done right comes from Art Plus, an art supplies store in New Hampshire.
Not only does Art Plus’ Business Profile contain all the important details about the business, it also has a handful of customer reviews and lots of photos showing the inside and outside of the shop.
Aim for that level of detail and comprehensiveness with your Business Profile on Google. Like Art Plus, enter as much info as you can, then beef up your profile with photos and reviews. You can also add the See What’s in Store (SWIS) feature as a way to display your in-store products directly on your Business Profile on Google.
Display your in-store catalog online
Looking up a retailer’s in-store inventory online has been a “thing” for a while now, but COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated this trend.
With consumers wanting to limit their trips to physical stores, many shoppers are now checking a store’s in-stock items before visiting.
You’d be doing your customers (and your business) a favor by making real-time inventory data visible to shoppers online.
You can easily do this using a solution like Pointy from Google, which gets your products online, so customers can see what’s available before heading to your store. Pointy integrates with your POS system and displays your in-store inventory info directly on Google, with no data entry required.
Want to see Pointy in action? Check out Dingo’s Diner And Spa, a Colorado-based pet store. Their Business Profile on Google lists the products they have in-store, so shoppers can verify their availability before heading out.
In addition to displaying products on your Business Profile when people look up your business on Google Search or Maps, your profile will appear when people search nearby for specific products that you have available in your store.
Going back to Dingo’s example — when you’re in the area and search for an item they have in stock, like “primal dog food,” you’ll see Dingo’s product listing along with an “In store” icon, indicating that it’s available in their shop.
To do that, Dingo’s Diner and Spa is using Local Inventory Ads through Pointy. This feature displays “ads for products that nearby customers searched for,” allowing Dingo’s to get in front of shoppers who are ready to buy and helps the store attract more visitors.
“Pointy really helps shoppers to find us locally. Unless you have Pointy or are paying an astronomical amount of money, customers will find it hard to find you,” says the store’s co-owner, Cashe Pawlik. “For example, a customer recently told us they searched for doggy PJs and they saw we had them so came in!”
Give Pointy from Google a try and start displaying your in-store merchandise on Google Search and Maps.
A strong Business Profile on Google coupled with online inventory visibility is a killer one-two punch that can immediately boost your in-store traffic. And the best part? It doesn’t take a huge investment to implement these tactics.