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4 Lessons Learned from the Opening of a Brick and Mortar Store

Lessons learned from the opening of a traditional retail store can apply to online marketers, providing information on product promotion, sales stimulation and buyer involvement .

From November 9 to 11, 2017, I participated in the opening of a new brick and mortar retail store. The inauguration event only took three days, but it was the culmination of several months of planning and preparation. Its success has reminded me of some important retail marketing lessons that apply not only to physical stores, but also to e-commerce.

The following are four marketing observations of this groundbreaking event for the fourteenth physical store of a chain of stores.

1. Some products do not sell

One of the often cited advantages of brick and mortar retailing is that buyers can handle the products and feel the material. But at the grand opening, I was reminded that sometimes seeing a product in person is not enough to sell it. In fact, online traders may have an opportunity when it comes to selling relatively complex products.

Here is an example. At the front of the new store, there was a winter boots exhibition. These boots featured the Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, a new sole designed to adhere to wet, slippery ice.

I had the opportunity to try the Arctic Grip outsole at a salon in August. The people from Vibram had a big block of ice on which I was walking with the Arctic Grip sole attached to the bottom of my Nike SD shoes. The experience was amazing. The Arctic Grip sole, available on several shoe brands, was amazing.

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The author tries to Arctic Grip outsole at a salon in August 2017.

In the store, however, the winter boots equipped with these high-end tacky soles seemed just expensive. I heard a customer ask his companion, "Why do these boots cost so much?" I interrupted them, I showed a video of when I tried the Arctic Grip – it was still on my laptop – and they bought a pair. What had seemed expensive a moment earlier was suddenly worth every penny.

The difference was not to see the boots in person, but to have a person who explained what made them special.

So here's the opportunity of e-commerce: Online stores can include an Arctic Grip video – in fact, there is one available on YouTube – that allows the consumer to see the value. Online, a company has the opportunity to provide much more information than a buyer can simply find by passing the boots in a physical store.

2. Live broadcasting leads to sales

In order to promote the grand opening of the 14 store, the retailer's advertising agency has programmed several radio remotes. For each remote control, a local station installed a 10 'x 10' pop-up tent on the front sidewalk and asked radio listeners to pick up prices and see the new store.

During the teleconference on Thursday afternoon, the announcer of a local radio station asked Curt, the store manager, to show him the new store on Facebook Live. A technician was holding an iPhone while Curt and the announcer were walking and chatting.

Nearly 400 people watched live and several thousand people watched the video over the next 24 hours.

In a moment, a consumer called the store and asked the staff to hold a sandstone bowl that Curt had shown during the video. Traffic on the site for objects reported by Curt during the tour was still rising four days later.

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Your online store can use Facebook Live for events, content and even products.

3. When you give, you get

Each morning of the grand opening, the first 50 buyers received a $ 10 gift card for the store and a $ 5 Starbucks gift card through the parking lot. Once inside, they were also offered pastries from a local bakery.

This may seem like a lot to give since, collectively, the gift cards were worth $ 750. But these gift cards did three important things for the store:

  • Created a feeling of reciprocity,
  • Brought 50 buyers,
  • Sales generated.

Reciprocity is when your business does something good or kind to a consumer, and the consumer feels compelled to do something good. Reciprocity is a powerful one. Some of the buyers who had received a gift card made only a small purchase. But many others have spent hundreds of dollars. I watched a customer apply his $ 10 gift card to a $ 899.99 power tool purchase.

For your e-commerce business, look for opportunities to create a sense of reciprocity. When you give, you sometimes get.

4. Advertising works

During the three days of the inauguration, the new store sold the 13 existing stores of the chain and its website. As good as the 14th store is, it will not be the company's high-performance store in the long run, but it was for those three days.

Some of these sales may have been curious buyers who wanted to see what the new store looked like. But the main driver of sales was advertising.

This retailer has invested heavily in advertising through the media. The company has been advertising on radio, television, Pandora, Hulu and YouTube. Print advertisements, billboards and mailings were sent to thousands of addresses near the store. Waves were sent, landing pages were created and digital banners were placed.

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Advertising works. If your business needs traffic and sales on the site, buy an ad.