How to Convert Online Impressions into In-store Sales?

  • September 23, 2020

Online marketing is all the rage now due to COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier MCO (movement control order) has forced consumer behaviors to change – high consumption of online contents and more receptiveness towards online advertising. Businesses have responded by venturing into communications on digital platforms, particularly social media. Often, these are new channels for the businesses, thus every little progress, either impression or reach, is seen as a win!

But after the initial euphoria, when the dust settles, many will find that the sales are still far behind the targets. The impressive impression and reach figures online do not translate to sizeable sales.

Why is this so?

Online and Offline are Disconnected

Though consumer behaviours have changed due to the pandemic, not all are willing to purchase online, certainly not for all product categories. Some simply prefer to see and touch the products before buying.

So, are all the online impressions wasted? No, not if you know how to leverage them.

If you are familiar with brand pyramid, the online impression, reach and engagement achieved may have contributed to Awareness and / or Consideration. What’s missing is the nudge to go for Trial (purchase).

Online marketing alone is not enough because there may be a disconnection between your online marketing and your in-store product. Your product may have created awareness or even consideration to the consumers online, but when your consumers step inside a store, facing thousands of other products, what are the chances that they notice your product, let alone picking it out and paying for it?

In other words, imparting an embellished online impression without providing an in-store experience to your customers, is a dreadful and literally, costly mistake for your brand.

So, what should marketers do to bridge the online platform with the in-store space?

Through-the-Line Marketing

The answer is Through-the-Line (TTL) Marketing – a synchronized, integrated marketing between Above-the-Line (ATL) and Below-the-Line (BTL).  Online marketing is arguably a form of ATL marketing. What’s missing is BTL marketing, especially point-of-sale materials (POSM). POSMs are communication materials at the physical locations the products are displayed for sale. This could include block display, power wing, wobbler, poster and many others.

Point of sale is dubbed the first moment of truth (FMOT), thus the communication at the product display makes or breaks the making of a sale. It is important to ensure the same look and feel for ATL and BTL communications. That’s why lots of marketers do campaign masthead to create the link between ATL and BTL for each promotion. This TTL marketing approach helps you to funnel your target consumers from online to offline (O2O), with POSM as the essential link.

Point-of-Sale Materials

POSMs serve to be the culmination of all your other marketing communications leading up to the FMOT. POSMs that are well thought out and designed will attract customer attention, convincing the consumers to trial either on its own or by linking to its online campaign. Therein lies the key – POSMs must be well designed in the context of the product display. A direct adaptation of what works on electronics means simply will not work equally as effective at the point of sale. A typical example we often see but does not work is – print ads being applied straight to POSM.

Right time to do POSMs  

Is now the right time to do POSM for delivering TTL marketing? You bet it is. If you only do online marketing, it will not translate to actual in-store sales because when people come to brick and mortar stores, they often do not associate your online presence with your product. But with a little, but correct nudge of POSMs, the consumers will be able to relate and be reminded of the product they have seen online. And a completed sale will be well within sight!

So, always start with an end in mind and don’t stop at online marketing. Do Through-The-Line marketing to synchronize your ATL and BTL. Place utmost importance on POSMs. A digital marketing agency is easy to engage, but a proven, BTL specialist agency is rare and should be sought after. Engage an experienced POSM expert with the most creative solutions for the development of attractive and effective POSMs to deliver your through-the-line marketing.