These days, it’s rare to find a business that doesn’t have some kind of online presence. That’s because websites are incredibly valuable, online businesses tend to fare well, and because it’s relatively easy to set up a new website from scratch.
However, online business still have some disadvantages when compared to physical storefronts. That’s why the best approach may be aligning your storefront and website marketing campaigns – but how do you do it?
Why Brand Consistency Is So Important
In some ways, it’s effective to think of your physical storefront and your website as two separate businesses, each to be managed independently. But in practice, it’s much better to make sure that your brand is consistent across all the channels you’re using to support your business.
Brand consistency has several benefits, including:
- Reputation and familiarity. People who have consistent brand experiences and those who interact with your brand on a regular basis will gradually become more familiar with you. Over time, this can help you foster a better reputation, leading to more sales.
- Customer cross-pollination. Effective marketing and advertising, combined with better strategic approaches to customer retention, will allow you to “cross-pollinate” your customer base, increasing sales in both areas.
- Analytics. Interacting with customers and cultivating purchases in multiple fronts will also give you more data, which you can use to improve your business further – and in some truly creative ways.
Top Tips for Aligning Your Storefront and Website
So how do you make sure your brand remains consistent across both your website and your storefront?
- Invest in your storefront. First, invest in your storefront – and we mean that in the literal sense. One of the greatest advantages of maintaining a physical business is securing visibility for people passing by. But if you want to take full advantage of that, it’s important that your storefront looks clean, upgraded, and inviting. Make sure the walls, the windows, and your front door are pristine and updated – and make sure you have a suitable window display to attract more foot traffic.
- Cross-market. Make an effort to cross market each interactive set of experiences. That means advertising your in-store deals online, and advertising your online deals in your store. You’re going to encounter some segmented demographics, including people who shop at your physical location, but who never visit your website and, of course, people who want to buy things on your website but never visit you in person. Still, it’s helpful to take advantage of that middle group who is willing to shop with you in multiple ways.
- Train your employees well. Spend time training all your employees on your brand values, your organizational culture, and the right ways to handle customers. When all of your employees start with the same knowledge and the same skills, your customers will have more consistent experiences, regardless of whether they choose to shop in person or on your website. Training pays off; the more time you invest in your staff, the more benefits you’ll get on a recurring basis.
- Foster a consistent brand culture. Pay close attention to your brand culture and keep it consistent across your channels. If you haven’t already, take a critical look at how you describe your brand culture and what your core values really are. This may seem inconsequential to you if you’re usually focused on delivering products and making customers happy – but on a larger scale, adherent core values will always make a positive difference.
- Play to the strengths of each area. Understand that there are things physical storefronts do better than websites, and things that websites do better than storefronts. Try to optimize your strategy for each to play to these strengths. For example, the in-person shopping experience gives people a chance to try your products hands on and interact with your staff more directly.
- Get feedback through surveys. Next, get customer feedback with the help of surveys. You may believe you’re doing a good job of advertising your physical store and your website simultaneously, but if you find that some of your customers don’t even know you have a physical store, you’ll need to take a closer look at that advertising strategy.
- Remain adaptable. It’s tough to juggle both a website and a physical storefront, and new technologies and new tools are constantly emerging to help you navigate that experience. You have to remain adaptable if you’re going to not only survive, but thrive in this space.
Capitalizing on the best of both physical storefronts and websites could be exactly the path your business needs to succeed. Not every business can follow the same formula to earn a suitable profit, but if you keep experimenting and improving, you’ll eventually find an approach that works.