Brick and Mortar Marketing might seem like a thing of the past. Direct mail? We all know that lives in the recycling bin… But, are there some techniques from decades past that are worth sticking with in our modern world?
What is Brick and Mortar Marketing?
Brick and Mortar refers to “a physical presence of an organization or business in a building or other structure”. Picture a high street, riddled with businesses and overrun by foot traffic. Before the internet boom, this is how virtually all business had to run. Now, however, thanks to digitalization and the rise of SAAS and service based businesses, there’s little for a physical location. In some cases even, there’s little need for a physical product!
So, what techniques used to work, in the Brick and Mortar days?
- In store events used to be the way to get customers through the doors. Whether it was a mall hosting a Britney Spears concert in her earliest days – or a department store setting up “Santa’s Grotto” to attract holiday shoppers, there was always something more to do than just shop. Brands had to focus on the customer experience. The longer they kept shoppers in their store, the better their chances were for selling something.
- While you might still get catalogs in the mail today, I’d bet that it’s pretty rare for you to sit at the kitchen table and actually thumb through them. These days, we don’t even need to go looking for the products that we might want to buy. Sophisticated (and sometimes creepy) social media algorithms will fill our feeds with them instantaneously.
- What if I told you 20 years ago your wallet would be twice as thick as it is now, but with stamp cards rather than cash? The concept of loyalty programs is nothing new, and has been a staple for brick and mortar businesses for decades. Technology has certainly made this more simple, though. Now, all we often need to do is share our phone number at the cash register to accumulate points. You might have a stamp card at your favorite frozen yogurt joint, but it’s unlikely that your wallet is filled with many others.
What about Brick and Mortar Marketing Today?
While you might not have a physical store or physical product, it’s likely that many of these techniques (if tweaked a little) can help generate more sales for your business. Let’s take a look at how you might alter these for the modern, digital world:
- Alright, this sounds tricky because you may not even have a store. But, remember this wasn’t so much about the physical location as it was about the customer experience. Consider alternative ways to keep your customers on your site for longer, in the same way that Brick and Mortar stores have in the past. Try offering product demonstrations, or a try-before-you-buy experience to get customers comfortable with your offering and ready to purchase. Additionally, powerful customer testimony videos may be what they need to see to feel ready to buy!
- Printed media can be both expensive and time consuming in this modern world, and it’s likely that it’ll end up in the trash. However, there are lessons to be learned from printed media campaigns of the past, such as location-specific targeting. If your business is located in a particular city, how about running an ad campaign unique to that area with a message to support local business? Supporting locally owned businesses is a growing trend, so this one simple strategy may win you some local, loyal customers.
- Sure, giving your phone number now is much easier than carrying around a stack of loyalty cards. But, what if I told you there are some far more creative and fun ways to engage your loyal customers? Whether you’re offering a cash-back prize for referrals, free product for a certain number of points, or simply a coupon after each sale to get customers back in the “door”, there are so many unique ways to approach the loyalty programs of today.
Lessons from the past:
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that online business is paramount to modern success. In the UK, physical stores have been closed for months at a time, and while customers will likely return once CoVID fades, it’s unlikely that our online consumer habits will die fast. Part of innovating for the future involves taking what worked in the past, and adding some modern flare. Brick and Mortar isn’t quite dead, it’s just changing.
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