Our ever-changing digital world has e-commerce marketing experts constantly looking for the next online advantage they can leverage for success. It may be a new social media platform on the rise or an innovative approach to an email campaign. Searching for the next big thing online to grow your brand isn’t just useful, it’s mandatory.
It’s not all there is to e-commerce marketing, though. While you’re looking for that next online advantage, digitally native businesses should also be sure not to totally neglect the opportunities within offline marketing. That’s right, there are plenty of useful strategies for using offline tactics to drive online sales.
Pop-up shops are one great example of using an offline approach to help your online brand. These have become increasingly common and effective for e-commerce businesses in recent years.
What pop-up shops do is give e-commerce brands a temporary storefront allowing consumers to interact firsthand with a brand and its products. They can be used to accomplish a number of things including building a deeper connection with your customers, making a brand more visible to potential new customers, the testing of a new product, or even to find out if a physical store is something your brand should consider.
A lot of high-profile brands will rent a vacant storefront for a few weeks or months to serve as a pop-up shop. That doesn’t mean these shops are limited to those who can afford such a rental, though. A pop-up shop could also be renting a space from an established retailer or having a booth at a special event.
What and how much you chose to sell at a pop-up shop should be a decision based on what your brand is trying to accomplish. In fact, some are highly effective despite selling nothing at all. Beauty brand Glossier has permanent stores in New York and Los Angeles and has used pop-up shops in several other major cities. All of which, even the permanent locations, have served as more of a showcase venue than a traditional retail store.
“It’s become this meeting place for women to meet up before brunch or help each other pick their shade,” says Glossier CEO Emily Weiss. “There’s little need for actual salespeople. The opportunity to think about what beauty is offline and how it can bring women together, I think that’s really interesting.”
Though beauty is a great example, what Weiss is saying isn’t just true in that category. Gymshark, a fitness apparel brand, has also used pop-up stores all across the world to help grow its brand.
It’s wise to remember how important the location is with pop-up stores. There’s no point in having one unless your stores are in locations where your consumers live. Glossier’s recent pop-up shop in Chicago, for instance, allowed the brand to leverage a brief physical presence in its fifth-most popular market and the third-most populated city in the U.S.
The importance of location is also a reason why having a presence at special events can be a useful offline marketing tool. If a large number of your target consumers are drawn to a sporting event or the weekly farmer’s market, you should be as well.
Giving away branded products such as t-shirts or pens is another way to think about marketing offline. This is something brands have been doing for years that also translates well into e-commerce marketing. Stickers, for example, have become an especially intriguing tacit as consumers have shown a strong desire to decorate their devices. Many successful brands will send a few free stickers with an online order. These can be easily placed on phones or laptops where they are displayed for all to see. It’s subtle, but it’s something and it’s not expensive.
Brands can even combine any number of offline marketing tactics together to come up with a plan for driving online sales. PSD Underwear did so to help it become one of the most successful men’s underwear brands. In its infant stages, the company founders used an RV to attend special events and dish out free branded products. Those efforts paid off tremendously.
The point is e-commerce marketing isn’t always about finding what’s next online. Sometimes, it’s about leveraging what’s out there in the real world. Nothing can replace the real-life, physical relationship with a consumer. Such an experience can increase the brand-to-consumer connection and ultimately drive e-commerce sales.