Offline Conversions: Everything Your E-Commerce Brand Needs to Understand
Integrating Online and Offline Conversions Is a Game Changer
Many e-commerce brands keep their online conversions separate from offline conversions as if they’re two different worlds. Yet, your customers don’t think that way at all.
If you have an offline and online option, your customer may see a product they like online but decide to purchase it from your offline option. The opposite also happens – they see something in your offline option that appeals to them but wait to buy until a few days later at your online option. Offline options could include a brick-and-mortar location, a toll-free phone number, a variety of offline media, ads, billboards, etc.
If those two brand options don’t both provide access to the customer’s desired product, you’ve missed out on a sale and may have lost a customer. Why? Because customers expect continuity.
And, If you have no way to integrate and track online and offline conversions, you have no idea which marketing campaign prompted the sale. That means you can’t accurately understand what’s working for your brand vs. what isn’t.
Both of the above elements are essential to know which marketing campaigns resulted in the conversion and how to maximize that information to help scale your business up to the next level.
Bottom Line: Customer Expectations for E-Commerce Keep Changing
Those who worked in internet marketing in its infancy saw customer expectations change at a startling rate. That trend continued over the last two decades as customers became more comfortable shopping online and more sophisticated about how e-commerce works.
Your customers include a lot of shoppers who’ve never known a world without e-commerce. To them, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses are interchangeable, even if many e-commerce companies and brick-and-mortar companies still think of them as entirely separate. Your customers now expect continuity between online and offline commerce.
During the covid pandemic, shopping patterns shifted significantly to online purchasing. That was a boon for e-commerce brands. Now that pandemic restrictions have begun easing, shoppers are returning to offline shopping in addition to online shopping.
This means integrating your brand’s online and offline shopping abilities is critical to continued and increased brand success.
“According to the Shopify eCommerce Market Credibility Study, a commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Shopify, September 2021, 47% of the consumers said having a local presence was a significant factor for which brands they shop from. Consumers are 4x more likely to purchase from a company with strong brand values. And a whopping 77% are concerned about the environmental impact of the products they buy.
They’re willing to spend more money and accept slower shipping times—for the right brand. They’re also returning to in-person shopping, and shopping in new ways…
Don’t forget about the magic of in-person experiences: in-store shopping is ramping up again. But it’s not about one or the other—consumers want it all. These days, commerce is omni-channel. The best brands understand that digital and physical retail don’t operate as silos. It’s all just retail. Your customers want to be able to order online but return in store, or look at a product in a showroom and buy it online. Over the next year, 54% of the consumers we surveyed say they’re likely to look at a product online and buy in store, and 53% are likely to look at a product in-store and buy online.
This is good news for your e-commerce brand. Why? Your e-commerce brand’s ability to be nimble will once more serve you well. That’s a huge advantage over major corporations that can’t react as quickly to shifting customer needs and expectations.
The key is making e-commerce and offline purchases seamless for your customer. You want them to be able to purchase as soon as they make a decision. They don’t understand why something may be available online but not offline – or vice versa. To them, you’re one brand no matter where your products are located. As one brand, they believe they “should” be able to buy as soon as they want to – online or offline.
How Do You Make Online and Offline Conversions Seamless?
You probably already know you have to do the following basics for your e-commerce brand:
- Establish rapport and trust with your customers;
- Have a brand that’s quality level makes your customers want to come back for more, and;
- Ensure your brand’s voice is consistently faithful to your e-commerce company’s and your target audience’s values.
After all, the above are bottom-line customer expectations for succeeding in 2022.
Now, let’s build on that to ensure online and offline conversion integration:
- Cross-pollinate on existing e-commerce and offline marketing touch points, for example;
- Social media,
- E-commerce website,
- Online ads,
- Product pages,
- Product reviews,
- Email campaigns,
- Customer loyalty programs,
- TV, print, and mail campaigns,
- Brick-and-mortar stores,
- Direct mail, and more.
- Keep your customer’s end-to-end journey personalized;
- Ensure each customer gets an overall optimized experience, not just bucketed touch points or pathways;
- Use segmentation to make each customer’s journey as unique as possible with recommendations and offers to create a personalized experience, which is important to 76% of consumers (highlight your customer’s potential offline buying experiences and options as well as online ones.);
- Update your local search maps or store locator to reflect a welcoming visual presence instead of just a dot on a map;
- Combine offline and online research data to create more accurate customer personas;
- Use a combination of offline and online findings to help move top-of-funnel prospects another step down the sales funnel, closer to a conversion;
- Offer effortless onboarding – make that easy and intuitive both online and offline; and
- Look for opportunities to optimize offline and online conversion touch points.
Turn Customer Expectation Changes into an Opportunity to Grow Your E-Commerce Brand
Both e-commerce and offline commerce are constantly changing. Putting the steps in to integrate your e-commerce brand’s online and offline conversions will pay off in increased ROI and improved customer loyalty. Doing that will help your e-commerce brand scale up to the next level.
“Having a cohesive and consistent experience across online and offline platforms is essential to creating the right experience for your customers; inconsistency creates confusion and mistrust. For example, if you use a particular type of branding for a TV ad that encourages users to visit a page on your website, but when they arrive they’re met with something they don’t recognize, they may be unsure if it’s the right website or whether you’re a trustworthy brand, and they’ll be more likely to leave without converting. Having consistency across both online and offline mediums is the key to a successful, cost-effective marketing strategy.” Total Retail “How to Integrate Online and Offline Activity to Make More Informed Marketing Decisions“
Integrating online and offline conversions will pay dividends, putting your e-commerce brand far ahead of your competitors who haven’t figured this out yet. AdQuadrant collaborates with its clients on integrating online and offline conversions, to build their e-commerce brand to the next level. Our strategists love putting the pieces together to ensure your e-commerce brand maximizes online and offline conversions. Talk to us about elevating your e-commerce brand, and let us help take your brand to the next level.
About the author: Merikay Noah has over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing. She worked with e-commerce B2C and B2B websites of all kinds, from Fortune 100s to small start-ups, at two of the top three search engines and at a Los Angeles ad agency. Her successful e-commerce book publishing website, PopcornReads.com, attracted an international audience of bookaholics for over eight years. She now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she works as a copywriter and loves to hike with her small but fierce doggy protector – Miss Lucy.