It may seem counterintuitive for e-commerce companies to promote and build their brands offline, since in the majority of cases, 100% sales are online. However, even such companies now realize that using ‘offline’ tactics would help to grow their online business, even more. When offline and online strategies work in conjunction, the cumulative effect on the company’s ROI is significant – a study revealed that offline efforts influence up to 40% of digital world shoppers to buy more. Let us look at some of the strategies that can boost the image of a brand and encourage online sales.
- While many new channels of communication have come about, thanks to technology,direct mail is still a relatively inexpensive yet sure shot method of reaching customers and target audience. It allows your company to communicate ‘directly’, on a one-on- one basis with prospects and keeps the control of who gets what with your company. You know that the message has been delivered to the people your company intended to reach.It is invaluable and yet a highly potent method of capturing (or recapturing) the attention of your audience. Linked with this method are company catalogues that a company can send via direct mail. Given that most catalogues and brochures are made deliberately to grab eyeballs, these are a great way to gain attention and entice customers into buying.Hence, while your company uses the cost-effective method sending catalogues and brochures via direct mail, online sales show an upward trend.
- Are you familiar with the term ‘flash retailing’? This is what online brands can use to test the market before opening a full-fledged brick and mortar store. A pop up store or flash retailing is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces (Wikipedia definition) at a much lower cost to know whether an offline expansion would be successful. According to Fortune, by the year 2013 pop-up stores were an $8 billion industry (in a span of only 4 years). It allows a company to not only use a different channel to sell, but also to test the market for the sale of a new product / concept / service. Since it is ‘out there’, people are able to touch and feel the products, creating more awareness and raising interest. Industry experts believe that opening up such stores to match seasonality or during the holiday season, is a great way to increase sales, offload excess inventory, while testing a new avenue of sales and revenue.
To mitigate risk, it would be prudent to take up a smaller space that would be enough to accommodate inventory of your company’s ‘best sellers’, which customers can ‘experience’ and then go on to buy the goods, online. This is a win-win situation for the customers, while being cost effective for the company.
- PR tactics in the ‘real world’ to incite urgency, awareness, and curious interest in potential customers about your company and its products, are a great way to complement and boost online sales. These tactics compel the consumers to take action, given the hype that surrounds them and by placing an ‘end date and time’, urges people to beat the timelines and race ahead of the other consumers. Of course, it is imperative to have a robust plan to determine which channel or ‘vehicle’ would be the best method to get the message across to the largest audience possible.
- Trade Shows have been popular for decades now as a method to promote business. A number of brands interact with the media and prospective customers. E-commerce companies meet with large retailers, who if impressed with their products, strike deals to distribute the products at a mass scale. Such trade shows see the participation of suppliers and vendors as well, making it easier for e-commerce companies to get better quality and delivery times, at even more cost-effective rates. In addition, given that these shows would have a company’s competitors too, vying for attention, it provides an opportunity for companies to understand their competitors better, know their products, and learn their strengths and shortcomings – invaluable knowledge for any company.
E-commerce companies now have a great many opportunities, apart from the ones mentioned, to promote and expand their business in the offline space. Using both these spaces effectively and to advantage, calls for creativity, passion, and an unflinching dedication to drive sales and become even more successful. We are certain that there are many other offline strategies too, which, when coupled with online efforts, would skyrocket your company’s reputation, sales, and profits.