Use Social Media To Drive In-Store Sales



Good morning Internet fans, Ryan Perry here, Simple Biz Support. Today is Wednesday, June 8th, therefore it is Social Media Wednesday, and as usual I have Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing. Good morning, Sarah.

Good morning, Ryan. How are you?

RP: I’m doing good, thank you. Both wearing blue again. Maybe I’m just going to make this my every day Wednesday, or my every Wednesday shirt. That way there’s more consistency, ’cause marketing’s all about consistency, right?

SG: Right. Right. And maybe, if we always represent in our Dodger blue, they’ll keep winning.

RP: There you go. We can only hope.

RP: Today we are going to talk about using social media to drive sales to… We’ve got kind of two angles on this. One is if you actually have a brick and mortar store, how can we drive more sales there? But what if you actually sell a product that is in a store, but you don’t really have any brand awareness out there? How can you use social media to drive that, so when people actually see your product in the store they’re like, “Oh, I want to buy that.”

SG: Right. I’ve had a couple of prospects lately that I’ve talked to that have had exactly that problem. It’s not their brick and mortar store, but they didn’t have enough brand recognition that they got into a couple of stores of which would have been really great for them, but nobody knew who they were, they knew nothing about their product, so their product didn’t move off the shelves, and the store’s not going to keep it. So then it’s also, if you’re opening a fairly new brick and mortar, how do you drive people from social media to come into your store? Well, you can use a lot of similar techniques for both of these scenarios. We’ll start with the one that doesn’t have their own brick and mortar. If you’re trying to get into stores, they’re going to, hopefully they’re going to check you out and see if you have social proof, if you’ve got a following online, to see if people actually know who you are beyond, what if your product’s good or not, because again, if nobody knows who you are, the stuff’s not going to move, especially with something that’s not just an inexpensive like, “Well, I’ll give it a shot. I don’t care.” ‘Cause there always is a little bit of brand loyalty that you’ve gotta battle against with shoppers.

RP: Well, and the other thing is, you gotta deal with the buyer. You’ve have to convince the buyer to give up the space in order to put your product in there. And so, if you can come in and go, “Look, I’ve got this community of people who are eager to buy locally versus just buying off my website,” that’s more incentive of, “Okay, let’s put your product on the shelves.”

SG: Right, especially if it’s a local brick and mortar that you’re trying to get into, because once you get in there, yeah, you walk in, you say, “I’ve got this community. They buy from me. They’d love to be able to buy it from a local store.” Once you can convince the buyer to put you on their shelves, you can utilize your social media community to drive them into that particular store. You can, one, promote, “Hey, we’re now in this store.” You can run a special in conjunction with that store to drive people into it. But you’ve also, before you walked in that store, you’ve taught this community about your story, your background, your philosophy, why you do what you do, why your product’s great. Maybe you offered a free sample so people have tried it, if it’s a consumable product, maybe you’ve offered them a free sample so that they could try your product and then you drive them into a store to buy it because they love it. So there’s a lot of ways that, even if it’s your brick and mortar, or somebody else’s brick and mortar, to leverage a community online to drive them into that.

RP: Okay. So I guess the big question then becomes… Well, and I don’t know if we want to get into this per se today, is how do we build that community online, ’cause that’s a whole other story. So we have to assume you’ve already built a community through social media, good content, you should have a good product out there that people are actually interested in. So, now that we have this community, and we want to drive traffic to the store, what are some exact promotions that somebody could actually write down and go, “Okay, I’m going to try this. I’m going to try this.”

SG: Well, yeah, obviously it starts with building that community. And they’ve gotta want your product, but you can do a promotion. Obviously if it’s not your brick and mortar, you need to have their buy-in. You can run a promotion with a coupon, a buy one, get one free, things to get people to walk in the door, or you can… Then the coupon can be in-store only, especially if you’ve got an e-commerce store. You don’t want them to be able to use it online. Then they won’t go into that store. Because part of what you want to do to stay… If a brick and mortar store allows you on their shelves, you want to then prove to them that you’ve leveraged your community to grow sales. And a way to do that is trackable ways, so like a buy one, get one free, or a coupon that’s good for a certain day, running promotions that will put people in the doors, and that way the brick and mortar store can see that it’s actually working, and you’re leveraging your community to… Because if someone walks into a store to buy one thing… I’ve rarely walked out of a store with the one thing I’ve walked in for, and I’m pretty sure most people are the same way. ‘Cause you go, “Oh, yeah.” Especially with consumable products. “Oh yeah, I forgot this. I forgot that.” Even though I walked in for one thing.

SG: I see a comment here, QR code is a great way to do it too. I have a mixed opinion about them.’Cause a lot of people just don’t scan them, or don’t know how to scan them. But it is something that you can utilize, and it’s trackable too. And that’s the key is a way to… Once you drive the traffic into the store, is proving that it was your traffic that you drove to that store.

RP: Right, definitely, and if you’re talking about a local company, if you’re a local company and you’re trying to get in a local business also trying to do some cross-promotion because obviously if you can bring more business to their store, there should be an interest there. And I’m always interested with, when working with clients is, “Who else is in your industry where there’s an overlap where we can actually cross-promote, and through that cross-promotion you’re going to promote our product, we’ll promote your product.” You talk about one of the clients being coffee so what activity can you do around that’s relevant to people that drink coffee that will bring them in? You go back to the… Boy even before social media the old Coke and Pepsi wars. What was that? The 80s or something, where they had the commercials and they had the blind taste test? Coke and Pepsi… “Oh my God I thought it was Pepsi. I can’t believe I picked the wrong one.” That was some early social media proof type of marketing campaigns that could very well work these days and would be great for social media.

SG: Right. You can do it… Have people do it themselves, or doing a taste test, you can promote social media, have an event. People show up to do… We’ll use the coffee one. “Taste our espresso up against another big name espresso that most people just go to out of convenience and see which one tastes better.” So you can still use the social media to drive people to in-person events and in the case of this coffee company by building that following, allowing people to taste it, they’ll hopefully see the difference… If they’re coffee connoisseurs, they’ll see the difference, they’ll enjoy it and then you can tell them where they are, where they can buy it locally ’cause obviously they can buy it online but you want to drive them to the local stores because that’s where the volume is.

RP: Yeah definitely just looking at…

SG: You’re reading the comments…

RP: Yeah, ultrasound, Angie, looks like Angie is saying you can make up a day that supports your store products, like a Coffee Day.

SG: Right, like… I mean there’s… Or you can take advantage, I’m sure there’s a National Day, Coffee Day, because there’s a National Day of everything nowadays, if you just

[laughter] Google you’ll find something…

RP: You can pick one up.

SG: You can leverage, you can absolutely leverage something like that to have an event to drive people to it and people like to show up for free things. It’s reality. They’re going to… They’ll try it if it’s for free because it’s… They’re not out at anything.

RP: Yeah there’s a local, local business here, Fundemonium, that is like a hobby store, play store, I don’t… It’s kind of an interesting thing, huge space, and they get very social locally. And so if you’re… If you can find a business owner that’s already committed that way, and again your product overlaps that is a great way to build community and it’s really easy to promote on line. We’re going to do a special day of XYZs, with this brand. If you’ve got a new RC car… The flying helicopter things, the drones are a big thing so why not have a drone day and go to your local hobby store and go, “Look we’ve got this cool drone. We want to promote it and we’re going to have a Drone Day here.” And why not film it, put it up. You could do Facebook. I love instant these days. What is it called, the instant video on Facebook? Live?

SG: Going Live.

RP: Yeah, Going Live, I’ve talked to a number of clients. I’m like I’ve got a real estate agent who’s very involved in the local community and so she loves to post about local events, and I’m like, “You need to get on your phone when you’re at that local event, and go Live and go, “Hey, come and check me out, I’m here.” So as a business owner it would be really easy for you… It’s kind of that guerilla marketing where you gotta get yourself out there, but if you’re an unknown, then you’ve got a social media presence, and you want to carry that social media presence over, why not go to local retail outlet? Or if it is your own business, start doing some live stuff and go, “Hey this is what’s new and exciting and we’ve got a special on X, Y, and Z today. Come down, mention this video and we’ll do something spectacular for you.” I think a lot of things, especially with social media, if you can ever… If you can make it fun and entertaining, then people will want to join in, personable also. The old days of just throwing coupons up, yes that works but how can you take that to the next level and actually make it socially engaging and exciting? And the reality is it takes a lot more work. It’s not as easy as going, “Okay, hey, graphic designer, make me something I can throw up on social media that says, “Go buy my product at XYZ store.”

SG: Right, and it’s not as easy as just getting into XYZ store as it used to be and having your product move, because we’ve got so many… Even the local stores have so many products, there’s so much competition that it’s… And just being local isn’t always going to do it and so you’ve gotta be able to leverage some… You’ve have to build a community in the best and easiest… Not easiest, but the best most effective and best way to do that is online through social media building that community, and once you have that community, then you can leverage it to in-person, in-live, or in-live things, so like in the events, driving them to stores, cross-promotion, there’s a lot of things you can do but having that online community is really the bottom, or the base that you need to build your house upon so that you can reach the goals that you want to reach.

RP: Right, and the other thing I was thinking of is a lot of times you get celebrities, the local radio station host will come down, and if you’ve got a really big budget you bring in somebody who’s a NASCAR driver, baseball player, whatever, that does an on-store something. With social media a lot of these kids on Snapchat and Instagram, YouTubers, are becoming, within their social media realm, are becoming celebrities. And you could easily bring one of those people in. And it’d be a lot cheaper to bring someone like that in than Michael Jordan or I don’t know who, someone, Steph Curry, I guess, would be a better representation of today. Of being able to bring those people because they’re going to have their following come in also and that’s an easy way to attract both online sales and in-store sales. It’s just a matter of being a little creative and putting a little work behind it.

SG: Right, and seeing what works and what doesn’t, not everything is going to work for every business. We’ve talked a little bit more about consumable products like coffee and… But even if you have a clothing store or non… I don’t know, I don’t think those are called consumable. But if you’ve got physical products you can just be creative online and don’t worry if an idea you had didn’t work, because the great thing with online is a lot of it doesn’t cost a lot of money, if any at all. And so if it didn’t work, try something else. Or see what part of what you tried, where it broke down and if you can fix that piece. Maybe you didn’t utilize Facebook advertising properly, and so you need to tweak that a little bit for the promotion that you did. It’s a living, breathing, moving target, and so versus, “Yeah, graphic designer, create an ad for me and put it in the newspaper.” Once that’s out your SOL if it was wrong. However, online…

RP: Yeah, and especially if you don’t have any tracking behind it. I think that’s the biggest downfall in most businesses. I know I’m not 100% on my tracking like I should be, and it’s something… Levels, I try and improve it on a regular, every new campaign. “Okay I’m going to get better at this, get better at this.” Because reality is numbers don’t lie. So if we can track the numbers, we can predict better what’s going to work in the future.

SG: Right, so yeah, the moral of the story of today is be creative when you build your online community and then leverage them to help grow brick and mortar in-store sales, whether it’s your own store or another person’s store that you want to have your product in. And utilize that community to move people through the doors, ’cause that makes you more profitable, more desirable, and once you get into one store and you can prove that then you’ve got numbers that you can show, “Look what I did for store XYZ, so how about you take me on too ABC?”

RP: Right, alright, perfect, with that that’s going to end today’s show. Next week, unfortunately, we’re not going to be around, however, the following week we will, 9:45 Eastern Standard Time. Sarah, as always, I always appreciate the time and energy…

SG: Pacific.

RP: What’s that?

SG: Pacific Standard time.

RP: What’d I say, Standard?

SG: You said, “Eastern Standard Time.”

RP: Oh, Eastern Standard Pacific. We’re on the West Coast, sorry people.

RP: I’m not sure where that came from, but we will see you in two weeks to talk more about social media and how you can use it in your small business.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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