In the wake of a series of high-profile closings, brick-and-mortar retailers are desperate to get more people into their stores. New research suggests that effective digital marketing campaigns are the best way to guarantee a steady flow of in-store customers.
For anyone in the brick-and-mortar retail sector, anxiety about eCommerce has become a fixture of daily life. It seems like every few weeks, announce another major retailer shuts its doors. Take Sports Authority, which filed for bankruptcy and closed 450 stores across the country in 2016 after amassing more than $1 billion of debt; there’s also Payless Shoesource, which filed for bankruptcy in early April and announced 400 store closings.
According to Moody’s, the number of businesses qualifying as “distressed retail and apparel companies” has tripled over the last six years. The nineteen companies currently on the list collectively own north of $5 billion of debt, meaning the stream of failing brick-and-mortar retailers is unlikely to dry up anytime in the near future.
Instead of relitigating the debate over whether the internet is killing the brick-and-mortar store, we ought to explore the other side of the coin: the web has also provided retailers with a platform to reach a previously unimaginable volume of consumers. In fact, according to a new Footfall Attribution Benchmarks report, digital marketing campaigns are driving more consumers to brick-and-mortar stores than ever, suggesting that, if utilized effectively, the internet can actually be used to help stop the industry’s decay.
Research Confirms the Value of Digital Marketing to Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
The report found that Q4 2016 brought a significant increase in brick-and-mortar store visits that were directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns. Researchers divided consumers surveyed at a variety of brick-and-mortar stores into an “exposed group” of people who had seen a particular digital ad campaign, and a “control group” of people who had not.
In cases where the exposed group exhibited a desired behavior — either simply visiting a brick-and-mortar location or taking advantage of a particular sale — to a greater degree than the control group, the digital ad campaign was said to have produced a positive “uplift.” The higher the uplift, the more substantial the impact of the ad campaign. The report explains that average-performing campaigns can be expected to deliver 10-30% uplift within the retail sphere.
In other words, a perfectly average digital ad campaign has the ability to increase a brick-and-mortar retailer’s foot traffic by nearly a third, proving that digital marketing is an absolutely essential tool for any business trying to stay the decline of the physical store.
Tools like Albert™ Help Optimize Digital Marketing Campaigns
At Albert™, we understand the importance of connecting online marketing to offline behavior, and we’ve seen the remarkable results that a good strategy for doing so can produce. For instance, prior to partnering with Albert™ for its “48 Bikes in 48 Hours” digital ad campaign, Harley-Davidson of NYC’s all-time sales record for one weekend was eight motorcycles. But over the course of their very first Albert™-aided campaign, the brick-and-mortar motorcycle outfit nearly doubled their record, selling 15 bikes.
How was this possible? By using advanced machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, Albert™ uncovered behavioral micro-trends among existing Harley-Davidson customers and used a steady stream of ad performance data to optimize and scale the entire digital campaign. What’s more, Albert™ was able to identify previously unknown audiences who might be interested in a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, prioritize top-performing creative and messaging combinations, and allocate budget for ad buys across a wide variety of digital channels and devices.
Harley-Davidson of NYC is but one of many Albert™ success stories, confirming the assertion that cutting-edge marketing technology should be part and parcel of every retailer’s modern advertising agenda. Brick-and-mortar stores are struggling — there’s no two ways about it — but with the proper tools and approach, retailers don’t need to fear the future. Good digital marketing can drive real in-store results, and with platforms like Albert™, brick-and-mortar retailers can be confident that their online advertising presence is maximally efficient and effective.