Email and ecommerce are a winning combination, but email has another great superpower. You can use it to bring more customers into your brick-and-mortar locations.
This is a crucial tactic because foot traffic is still a major source of sales and revenue for retailers during the holiday season. A recent survey found 42% of U.S. shoppers plan to buy most or all of their gifts on Amazon this year, meaning brick-and-mortar locations will need to use every trick in the book to lure shoppers.
The 6 tactics below will help you bring more shoppers to your physical locations – and maybe even help you persuade some of the 42%-percenters to change their plans.
1. Promote in-store pickup.
If you offer “buy online, pick up in store” or “click and collect,” shout it out in an email (or two or three) to remind customers about the benefits. It’s a convenience for them and a traffic-builder and sales driver for you.
BOPUS bridges the gap between ecommerce and in-store divisions. Customers can zero in on local stores that have what they want instead of running from store to store. They don’t have to wait days for delivery, pay shipping charges or worry about porch pirates.
Your stores will move more inventory when they fulfill orders off their own shelves. Plus, people often buy something else when they pick up their orders – impulse purchases for the win!
Below are two takes on BOPUS. Both emails feature the service but approach it differently. Which approach works for you will depend on your goals and tech capabilities.
Stein Mart focuses on the benefits of buying online and picking up in a nearby store. The graphic explain the process clearly. Farther down in the email, the copy incorporates location data to show three nearby stores.
Note one key step in the process: Customers are asked to “set a store.” The company can use that store preference data to add even more relevant personalization, such as real-time weather updates or event invitations, to future emails.
Fossil’s promotion focuses on two of the top reasons why customers use BOPUS – they’re pressed for time and don’t want to pay shipping charges. Although we can totally relate to the need to put some distance between us and the cookie plate.
Fossil also ups the ante by coupling the promotion with a gift guide and a standing feature of its holiday emails: personalization and shipping deadlines. That’s also a helpful customer service. Adding nearby locations or a live map will make this email even more enticing!
2. Add a game (reindeer optional):
TJ Maxx brings three worlds together with this irresistible promotion. It uses email to tell customers about a social media campaign that takes place in stores. It even gives online shoppers the chance to play along. Talk about breaking down silos!
Even better: TJ Maxx adds a map along with the store address and adds a clear call to action: “Take the challenge at your store.” We also like how the email hedges its location bet and adds a find-a-store service for customers who want a different location.
3. Add the promotion code to the email.
You have to overcome plenty of barriers to get people out of their homes and into your stores. Take one of them down by adding a scannable barcode for your in-store promotion to your email. That way, your employees need only scan the code instead of typing in a long combination of letters and numbers.
Plus, you can control how many times your customers use the promotion, and you can get valuable store purchasing and location data with one swipe of the scanner. Torrid, which uses this barcode often in its emails, also puts its barcodes near the top of the message to reduce scrolling and catch the reader’s eye quickly.
Torrid also includes the map and nearest store location. Sensing a trend? After all, if you want in-store traffic, you need to show people where to go!
4. Add Amazon or UPS package drop service.
Michaels offers in-store pickup for its own online sales, but this service is different. The arts and crafts retailer has added package delivery lockers to some locations, which customers can use to collect orders instead of having them delivered to their homes. The email shapes the expectation that customers who use the drop service will also shop in the store.
5. Dedicate one email to promote your instore services.
Use email to remind your customers of everything your stores do to make their lives easier – not just during the holiday shopping frenzy but all year long. This Swarovski email promotes an annual event, but the services it lists are regular offerings, especially the wish list offer.
You can add your own wish list by using an element like Liveclicker’s LivePoll, which you can embed in an early holiday email and then use to personalize future emails.
6. Promote store events.
Social media might be your go-to channel to promote store events, but email gives you more options to create a memorable invitation. Soft Surroundings’ email promotion includes some enticing artwork and shows what customers will get when they come into the store. What could make an event-promotion email even more irresistible? Adding a countdown clock that lets customers know how much time they have left before the big event!
More resources for more traffic
Need more ideas to get more feet through your front doors? Our ebook “Real-time Solution to 9 of Retail Marketers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches,” takes on some tough retail situations and shows you how to solve them.