In-Store or Online: 7 Ways to Build Synergy Between Digital & Brick and Mortar Worlds

Retail e-commerce is here to stay. Here at BannberBuzz we don’t think that’s any groundbreaking insight. It accounted for $2.84T in worldwide sales in 2018 and is expected to rise to $4.9T in 2021. Yet despite this massive growth, in-store sales still accounted for 91% of all retail sales in the US in 2017 and in the last three quarters of 2019, according to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales (unadjusted) never topped 12.7% in any quarter. So, while it is rising, it is not rising as fast as we might intuitively think. That means your brick and mortar store is still the most vital part of your business and that connecting the two can harness your potential to the fullest.

The Power of One-on-One Marketing vs Social Media

There are approximately 4 billion email accounts worldwide, which is three times as many Facebook accounts and fifteen times as many Twitter accounts. An average expected CTR for Twitter is .5%. For an email, it is 3%. To look at it another way, according to the Search Engine Journal, the ROI of email marketing, on average, is 4,300%. No social media marketing can come close to that. Facebook and Twitter can also put restrictions on your communications. 

When you send an email, you aren’t sharing access with anyone else. At the moment they open your email, it’s just you and them. It is by far the most effective marketing medium on the planet regardless of business size. Your goal? Tempt people into your store rather than selling to them – use email as a communication tool, rather than a sales tool. 

Grab that Email

The key to a quality email list is two-fold: make the subscribe process as simple and seamless as possible and offer incentives. Your website sign-up form should both immediately stand out and be easy to complete.

In your store you need a 4-prong approach: you should have clipboards with signup sheets in high-traffic areas of your store with signage calling out the deals you get when you sign up; sales associates should always ask customers at the point of sale if they’d like to be added to your email list; have monthly giveaways for customers who leave their business cards, and your receipts should have an incentivized offer on them to entice those who decline at the time of purchase a second chance to provide the email. 

Tracking ROI

Even though your business is offline, if you get creative, with email tracking ROI can be made a little easier. Use Q Codes on your emails that require the customer to come into the store. Scan the code as part of the order process and voila – you have tracked that sale to the email offer. When it is something they must sign up for online, such as refer a friend – have them use code as part of the process. Again, now the transaction is trackable. In every instance, you’re looking to define what offers your customers love – and which ones they don’t. 

What’s In it for Them?

Here are just a few ways you can use your email to present customers with offers that can bring them into your store: provide a discount upon purchase completion with scanned code; discounts on their next purchase when purchasing an item you’re discounting to get rid of inventory; exclusive offers & early access to new products, special events, and limited-time offerings; refer a friend via a link in the email and earn rewards for gift cards, gifts, or discounts when their friend scans their barcode; giveaways and contests that offer unique and exclusive prizes – things they can’t get anywhere else such as an evening cooking with a local chef or a private wine tasting.

This can also be done through regular mail as well. Send postcards or other marketing materials directly to their home address. These should be very exclusive – both limited time and limited supply. It should be based on previous buying habits and trending items. Entice them to come to your store with a reward they simply can’t pass up.

Up-to-Date Systems


Your point-of-sale system (POS) needs to be accounting for data at all times. Inventory, individual customer purchases, email addresses, integrating with online data – you name it, it needs to be doing it. Get a POS that speaks to all the software programs you are using both on- and offline. Vend and Shopify, for instance, are two platforms that integral connection capabilities, seamlessly tying online and offline to make tracking inventory and sales a snap. The meaningful data generated can then be used to create the charts, graphs, and printouts you need in order to analyze all that data.

Continuity is King

Seamless and consistent customer experience across all sales channels. A critical part of that is BOPIS [buy online, pick up in store], a crucial new service with rising popularity. According to a JDA Software survey, 50% of the customer had used this sales model in the last year. That’s a 43% increase from last year. 44% percent of retailers surveyed by Signifyd view BOPIS as an integral part of their business now – a competitive imperative. And an additional 38% said that BOPIS is critical to bringing customers in the store to make additional purchases. 


Your system must be able to send them texts and emails confirming the purchase and next steps. Your system should be able to handle all of that automatically. In this method of sales, there are certain rules of thumb when you must follow. In fact, let’s name our Top 5: 

  1.   Train your staff thoroughly so the process is smooth and convenient.
  2.   Email/text must contain your store address
  3.   Pick up area inside your store to take advantage of additional purchases.
  4.   What the customer needs to bring to confirm their purchase.
  5.   Staff at pickup and checkout need to upsell or cross-sell. 
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