Retail and the Digital Journey

Our Head of Marketing Ryan Hopkins recently spoke at the Retail in Ireland Live Expo. The conference took place in the Citywest Exhibition Centre. Some of the Trigger Media team were lucky enough to also go along with Ryan to the event, (me being one of them). Ryan spoke about a topic he has covered previously in a blog, What Is Local SEO & How Can It Help Your Business? If you want a more detailed explanation of Local SEO I recommend you check it out. In this blog, I want to not only highlight some of the points raised in Ryan’s talk but also shine a light on the benefits digital has brought to businesses of all sizes.

By the end of this blog, I hope to have given you a desire to bring these benefits to your retail business. To make sure your livelihood is not left in the wilderness, condemned to be left behind. This blog will give you the change in mindset needed to ensure your business’s success on its journey into the digital world.

Online complementing Offline

The Retail in Ireland Live Expo event had over 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors who informed attendees of the latest industry innovations and best practices. It is was a great opportunity for all those involved to see first hand the challenges and opportunities in the retail sector. For us, it was a great chance to get free tasters and goodies, no but seriously it was a chance for us dispel some of the mystery surrounding a Digital Agency. To give the attendees some actionable tips that they can use for their business regardless of its size. I feel that for many years the internet was seen as a threat to the bricks and mortar retailer. There was a fear that the new consumer in this digital age would solely purchase from e-commerce websites and local stores would all die off. Now as we know many stores have suffered due to the rise of e-commerce and digital in general, but many have not.

These businesses ranging in all sizes have embraced the challenges digital has brought. More importantly, they have used the digital revolution to their benefit. They have converged the offline and online world. It is this convergence that I want you to embrace. The rewards are there from digital to be had. For example one of the stats in Ryan’s talk was that local online searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit the bricks and mortar store within one day. Consumers are actively researching now. This stat shows how online and offline can complement one another. This is just one example of many ways digital convergence has aided businesses.

How to start

Now depending on what type of industry your business operates in, this convergence of online and offline can be a big undertaking. Regardless of the size though, the next step for you is the same. It’s a baby a step. If you have waited this long before embracing the digital world you’ve more than likely had your reasons for why you haven’t. You might feel the task is too big, costly or you simply don’t know where to begin. My advice to you would be to set the bar a lot lower.

Don’t aim for the big overhaul immediately. If the task is too big? Start by changing sometime minor. Ryan spoke about claiming your online profile, like your business profile at Google My Business. This is a simple and really quick task that is often overlooked by businesses. It is the profile that appears alongside a google search of your business (See image below). There are also plenty of other minor tasks which you can begin immediately. These tasks will soon start to reduce the size of the overall project and the results will start to show before the much larger task is complete.

The example I have given above, claiming your online profile, is also free. Something which you’ll find with a lot of the minor tasks in digital, they are usually free or relatively cheap. This means you can start your digital convergence without the worry of incurring big overheads. For those of you who don’t know where to begin my advice is to start with the baby step of talking to others in your industry or business. This can be going to an event like the Retail in Ireland Expo or simply talking to work colleagues, family, and friends. You can also speak to a digital agency like ours. The good ones will be able to understand your business and create and implement a strategy that works for you.

Hello New World

Start with these baby steps and you’ll quickly find another step to take. These minor digital steps could get one more person in your door a week, a day or an hour depending on your goals. Together these steps could get two more people an hour, maybe three or four. Before you know it you’ll find your offline retail business converged with the online world and you’ll be the one giving talks at events for others to ask you “how do I begin my journey”?