Buying a sweater in-storeIf you are like many multi-channel retailers, you have been under pressure to connect your physical stores to the digital channel. While larger complexities likely loom, such as defining channel attribution rules and pushing archaic Point-of-Sale (POS) systems to their limits, you are probably trying to figure out more tactical ways to keep in-store shoppers engaged when they leave stores empty-handed.

One key tactic that can help you to build a foundation for future marketing efforts in this tangled, multi-channel madness is in-store customer acquisition. If you’ve been around a while, you may remember the days when this meant handwritten email addresses at the register. You’ll also remember the unmotivated cashiers who never collected the addresses, or the nightmarish data that was scribbled down. As funny as some of those fake addresses were, that primitive process often led to major deliverability issues.

Thankfully, the days of in-store customer acquisition being chained to the counter have passed. This means you have more opportunities to learn more about your store shopper and get them to opt-in to receive your marketing messages.

Here are three ways to expand your in-store customer acquisition:

1. More Advanced Point-of-Sale Systems

Wait, wasn’t I just criticizing acquisition at POS? Well, yes, I was. The reason is that many retailers are simply doing a poor job of it.

If you have a primitive POS system, your staff will need training to effectively communicate a value proposition as incentive for the customer to share their email address. Improving that human element can be a struggle, but isn’t impossible. Simple, succinct scripts can help the conversation, and performance monitoring can help move the needle.

If you are exploring more advanced or emerging POS systems, ensure you are offering customers a chance to opt-in during checkout. This can be coupled with the option to receive a receipt via email.

The bottom line here is that many retailers have let their POS acquisition strategies collect dust. Revisit this pivotal moment to see how it can work harder to boost your new subscribers.

2. Focus on Mobile Moments

Young woman shopping on phone at home

If you’re like most retailers, you are still trying to figure out your mobile strategy. As soon as you get close to seeing something work well, there are new devices and operating systems that change the rules. Once you see customers adopt a certain behavior, a new trend comes along and that behavior stops.

There are, however, some stable mobile moments that can help you to boost your list. I often see vague mobile calls-to-action littered throughout stores. We’re on Twitter. Download our App. Join Our Loyalty Program. What’s missing is the value proposition that will encourage the shopper to connect. There’s also a missing expectation of what will happen if they do text “Yes” to your short code.

A first step is to find focus in these efforts.

Are you trying to provide a coupon, get an opt-in, share content, etc.? There are lots of reasons shoppers may want to connect, but focus on one. When it comes to opting-in, offer immediate value to the shopper since you know engagement, and likely purchase intent, are high.

3. Improve Your Exit Strategy

Many of these strategies focus on the moments between your shopper entering your store, and checking out. This assumes that the shopper who entered your store found something they wanted to buy. What about those who leave your store empty-handed?

Market to these store abandoners by promoting different ways they can engage with your brand after they leave. This could include:

  • Promoting additional styles, sizes and colors available on your site
  • Reviews and product videos in your app
  • Engaging with your customer community

Test having a store rep standing near the exit with a tablet that can easily connect the customer to your email list, mobile apps, or loyalty program. Often, this interaction can lead to a positive customer experience that will help the store shopper transition to your site and continue shopping.

Communication is Key

While aligning your store and site strategies can often feel overwhelming, there are many ways for you to either get started or boost the performance of your current programs. When it comes to in-store customer acquisition, try to not overthink or overcomplicate the process.  The most successful strategies can often be anchored in personal interactions coupled with a clear value proposition.

Emarsys has powered some of the most engaging multichannel strategies across the globe. See for yourself!

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