Retailers can transform online behaviors into in-store purchases by drawing inspiration from an unlikely source: a local car dealership.
The Washington Post reports 60 percent of consumers conduct online research before heading to brick-and-mortar locations to make a purchase. Webrooming behavior should not be ignored, particularly when it’s estimated to drive $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017.
And, while at first glance, food and apparel may seem to have little in common with a big-ticket item like a new SUV, the webrooming strategies that drive revenue for auto brands and car dealerships are useful across industries.
Here are three key lessons from auto to think about.
Fuel More In-Store Sales With More Dynamic Digital
According to a new Adobe study, personalization is the number one priority for marketers, and this is something many auto brands have already taken a strong lead executing for their target audiences.
For example, the newly redesigned Lincoln website immediately offers a “Connect With Your Concierge” option to personalize the browsing experience. The Concierge has customized offers and pricing information specific to the individual customer, along with convincing third-party reviews, live video chat and the ability to book test drives at local dealerships.
The site leverages a simple, personalized digital experience and existing assets (e.g. reviews) while driving visitors toward an on-site purchase.
Being personal also means being mobile-friendly. Lincoln’s mobile users can enjoy the same experience from the palm of their hand. Intuitive, scaled mobile designs like this should now be standard for retailers’ online experiences, just like power windows are to today’s vehicles.
“People are becoming more advanced in their consumption of content on the mobile device, and we have found that there is an expectation for the mobile site experience to be as good, if not better, than the desktop experience,” said Michelle Opong-Owusu of Team Detroit, a Ford agency.
Detail The In-Store Experience
Today’s shoppers want to be wooed and wowed in-store — where they continue to make a majority of their purchases. Automotive brands and dealerships have already realized digital can help them do this. They offer the best “in-store” experiences that differentiate them from their competitors, drive brand advocacy and boost sales.
BMW, for example, is introducing Apple-like product geniuses to help customers learn more about available cars without the pressure of commission-driven sales. The brand is also rethinking the physical space of dealerships, emphasizing open design and large digital screens that allow customers to better visualize the myriad customization options available to them. The entire BMW store has become an incentivizing experience enhanced by digital.
Retailers should take note and enhance their stores as well. Beacon technology is easier than ever to install. Working in partnership with ShopBeacon, Macy’s department stores offer special deals to shoppers based on movement around the store. If a shopper lingers near a fancy pair of Frye boots, they may be pinged with a tempting discount to buy them. And Build-A-Bear Workshop increased store sales by 30 percent after redesigning stores around touch screens that help customers easily customize purchases.
Use Content to Tell Local Brand Stories & Create Personal Consumer Experiences
Retailers must also remember how critical it is to reach customers with offers available to them at nearby locations. Local search continues to be incredibly valuable in driving in-store sales. According to AdWeek, nearly 80 percent of local searches on mobile devices turn into purchases and 73 percent of those purchases happen in a physical store (compared to only 16 percent on the device itself).
But today search isn’t the only way to localize. A new Toyota campaign serves real-time deals to prospective car buyers in the proximity of a Toyota dealer, using behavioral data to target the right consumers via banner advertising and using GPS data to create dealership-specific offers and interest rates. These dynamic ads return a 101 percent greater response than ads without this level of local targeting.
Localized content works because it signals to shoppers that they can fulfill an immediate want or need simply by visiting a nearby location. Retailers in all categories can easily follow Toyota’s example. They can target local offers on Facebook, distribute them through rich media banners and even partner with brands on highly targeted video units that include maps to the viewer’s local store with specific prices available there.
Deloitte reported, “We are at a tipping point in retail — a point where digital channels should no longer be considered a separate or distinct business. Instead, digital is fundamental to the entire business and the entire shopping experience, in and out of the store.” When retail marketers see the colorful banners of car dealerships, they should be reminded how auto brands have been creating great digital experiences in-store and online.