How to link digital marketing to offline sales?

Remember crowds the stores?

Personally I mainly shop online – no sweating, no lines, all possible variations of the product at my reach! Why would one go to the store? Ever? Well, there is still a generation or two who don’t feel that comfortable with blind shopping/returning or manipulating digital devices in the first place. But even if every single potential customer was a digital shopping guru, there would still be brick-and-mortar stores offering items such as shoes, furniture, mattresses… It’s rather tricky buying a mattress before actually touching it!

Having that in mind, even these items most likely get a good share of online research before actual purchase in the store. Consumer behavior has  undeniably been influenced by portable devices, mobile apps and Internet accessibility (read more on the consumer behavior in the omni-channel age).

What enables offline sales mapping?

In this environment it is no surprise that digital marketing takes a large (and growing) part of overall marketing, second only to broadcast marketing. A magnificent tool! But there is one key question – does it influence sales that are not made online (yes, we still have those)? The answer is Yes! and online channel marketing impact to offline sales can be tracked and measured.

Here are four common tactics for measuring digital’s impact to offline:

  1. Traffic correlation- knowing how website traffic correlates with physical store traffic gives insight of tendencies. Best results can be achieved by tracking localized traffic. One of the tricks is measuring facility location page visits!
  2. Loyalty programs – it’s an old trick but still viable. Tracking code uses, loyalty card swipes, special coupons or even loyalty program searches allow to easily trace the initial contact point with a brand or product.
  3. Social selling – this allows to paint a fuller picture of customer behavior as many of their movement trends are readily available on social media insight pages/dashboards.
  4. Purchasing patterns – nowadays a lot of shopping is divvied across a wide pallette of channels. It is important to be aware of the customer’s shopping habits. Having that information allows more accurate projections towards future marketing decisions.

What to do with all that collected data

Clearly, digital marketing does influence sales that happen in store. And when the metrics are there, only one problem is left to solve. How to optimize their impact on direct marketing objectives. The goal is to determine what optimization metric aligns best to in-store sales. Once the decision is made, the focus can be transferred to the metrics that are driving real time results to the company. When the right metrics of digital campaigns are optimized, return on in-store sales can be doubled or even tripled! Read more on How to find the relevant metrics

Looking to the future

Greg Sterling says, “It’s very likely that in the next few years marketers will be routinely measuring, not just CTR, views, calls, recall or purchase intent, but physical store visits and offline sales as their primary metrics. And as these online-to-offline metrics become more available, brands will start to demand this type of ROI visibility”.


Photo property of Paul Townsend Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)


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