Big Idea: Brands should adopt an online/offline strategy from the start

Jaclyn Johnson, founder of digital marketing agency No Subject, advises brands to adopt an online/offline strategy from the start.

Jaclyn Johnson, No Subject
Jaclyn Johnson, No Subject

The physical store has been losing steam to online shopping for quite some time, putting retailers and developers on high alert to create interesting and compelling drivers to get people through the door.

But what if you put digital before the physical by integrating your online and offline strategy right from the start?

First, you need to reward people for showing up. Our client, Platform, has built a custom, mobile-loyalty program that will give shoppers points simply for checking into the center online. 

Consumer engagement
It is important to hardwire digital into your marketing plans by having interactivity on the site. For instance, create areas that will prompt the consumer to create and, more importantly, share content.

With Platform, opening in spring 2015, we have built a designated mural wall with built-in selfie phone holders so consumers can snap a photo in front of the always changing backdrop. And for those looking for an additional bonus, if they use our hashtag they can print their photo at one of Platform’s social kiosks. Want it emailed? No problem.

Second, you must market to a lifestyle – not a consumer – and bring those elements to life at your center or store. Engage using music, art, or culture, for example. Curate an ongoing cultural activation calendar with key partners with like-minded audiences to drive foot traffic from a new customer. Exclusive events, rich content, and one-of-a-kind opportunities are vital to ongoing consumer participation.

Platform will have a revolving brick-and-mortar storefront, On Holiday, offering exclusive pop-ups, workshops, and events, such as the test kitchen, where restaurants can test plates and cocktails among top-tier bloggers.

Easy integration
Lastly, make it easy. With its custom mobile app, Platform will have integrated Apple Pay to seamlessly integrate with your valet so physical money never has to be exchanged. 

If you have accrued a certain amount of loyalty points, you don’t have to wait around to see the rewards. You will get a gift certificate for the center automatically sent to you.

Like certain shops? You will be sent opt-in push notifications for targeted deals when you are in the neighborhood.

It is time to embrace digital and create an online and offline strategy that is built around a quality experience, usefulness, and culture marketing. Remember, people like the act of shopping, which includes being able to touch physical goods, connect with other people, and discover something new and exciting. The "if you build it they will come" mantra no longer works, but if you build and program it, then the Millennials might just show up.

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