A lot of exciting things are in store for in-store shopping.
Insider Intelligence reports that physical stores will account for 84% of total retail sales this year. And major retailers are rising to the occasion. Target, for instance, plans to open between 25 and 30 new stores with partner Ulta Beauty. Not one to be left behind, Walmart also plans to open 28 Walmart Health centers in 2024. Even direct-to-consumer brands typically sold online only, such as Warby Parker and Allbirds, are moving to brick-and-mortar stores due to the rising customer acquisition costs of marketing platforms like Facebook. Retail property vacancy rates are also now at a record low of 4.3%, according to Marcus & Millichap’s U.S. Single-Tenant Net-Lease Retail report.
With consumers craving in-store experiences, major shopping events like back-to-school underway, and the holiday season just a few months away, now is the time to try new marketing tactics that drive foot traffic to your new or upgraded location. Programmatic Direct Mail presents the perfect opportunity to reach your target audience where they often begin their shopping journey—at home—and then get them on their feet and out the door to your store to finish it.
Captivate cautious consumers with a new channel
Not to be Debbie Downers, but it’s essential to call out that shoppers are still spending a bit tepidly due to an unstable economy. They’re also less loyal than usual, prioritizing value over brand name to save a few bucks on a quality product. Let’s take back-to-school as an example.
As Deloitte explains in its annual back-to-school survey, parents across all income groups plan to spend less this money on this significant retail event this year, with total spending dropping 10% year over year. However, the good news is that additional research shows back-to-school shoppers are also hitting brick-and-mortar stores more than last year. Placer.ai’s foot traffic data reveals that since mid-May, nationwide visits to clothing chains have consistently exceeded 2022 levels, and in-person trips to thrift stores, superstores, wholesale clubs, and specialty retailers are also up. Since back-to-school trends are usually a bellwether of what’s to come for holiday shopping, brands need to start strategizing innovative ways to retain current customers and acquire new ones now.
Price consciousness is also sending more shoppers to physical stores regardless of the occasion. A recent Prosper Analytics & Insights survey found that a third of consumers shop closer to home due to price increases.
This is where an emerging channel like Programmatic Direct Mail comes in handy. It combines the targeting capabilities of digital with more compelling creative that offers a direct call to action—whether it drives to an online property or a store—at scale and speed. With the ability to use household-based targeting, accurately suppress existing customers, and apply billions of online intent signals refreshed daily to machine learning algorithms in real time, PDM helps brands pinpoint and reach the consumers most likely to buy. Brands can also measure PDM transactions across both online and offline points of sale.
6 ideas for using PDM to drive foot traffic to new stores
For new store openings, you can use both acquisition and retention strategies available through PDM to geo-target individuals close to your locations. Some ideas:
- Connect what’s happening on your website to your CRM data to deploy relevant, targeted direct mail offers within 12 to 24 hours of a customer expressing intent on your website—even when not logged in. You can even convert email and text subscribers into customers with targeted offers without a household address.
- Use clear, concise, and specific messaging that conveys a sense of urgency and incorporates customers’ previous purchases and information about their location to personalize further and link the offer to a nearby physical store. Consider if it’s worthwhile to make offers redeemable in-store only.
- Drive consumers in-store with seasonal, special, or one-time offers depending on what you sell and the time of year. The good news is that PDM will allow you to differentiate between seasonal customers and loyalty members so you can customize messaging and offers to these two distinct groups.
- Surface prospects that look and act like your best customers by modeling audiences using online intent and demographic data. You can also optimize any large prospect lists based on conversion potential.
- Integrate direct mail offers driving in-store with digital tactics. You could add a QR code that links to a landing page or promote sign-ups for your newsletter or SMS to boost your results.
- A/B test creative imagery, format and offer codes to refine performance further and surface deeper insights so you get more foot traffic to your store.
How one brand grew in-store conversations—and revenue—with PDM
As furniture brand Lulu and Georgia’s VP of Growth Julia Metaxas explained at the CommerceNext retail and e-commerce conference in June, PDM works well for considered purchases. And when those purchases are items customers prefer to try out in person, using the channel to get individuals into your new store is a winning strategy.
During a sale, another large furniture brand that owns two retail chains needed help driving additional traffic to their newly remodeled stores located in three of their top markets, Chicago, Detroit, and D.C. The company launched a geo-specific modeled prospecting audiences (MPA) campaign. By using MPA, the brand saw conversions:
- D.C.: 334 in-store conversions and 45 online conversions
- Detroit: 472 in-store conversions and 41 online conversions
- Chicago: 307 in-store conversions and 42 online conversions
Need to create buzz around your new store openings? Contact us today to learn how Programmatic Direct Mail can power promotions targeted to your physical locations.