What is web-to-store ?
Hybrid consumer behaviour has led to the emergence of web-to-store. These new consumer habits offer retailers many opportunities.
A combination of digital and physical habits
Some Internet users search for information about a product or service before buying it not on the website, but in a physical shop. In marketing, this behaviour is called web-to-store or ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline). Since the rise of e-commerce, this trend, which combines both digital and point-of-sale, has become commonplace. Indeed, according to Wazestone, 91% of consumers search online to compare items before buying.
Web-to-store is therefore the opposite of store-to-web, the principle of which is to send the customer back to the site when a product is not available in shop. These concepts have created multiple opportunities for consumers, but also for retailers and e-tailers.
We must also distinguish between web-to-store and drive-to-store. Even if in both instances the objective is to generate traffic at the point of sale via the Internet, the approaches are different. In the case of web-to-store, the brand targets internet users looking for information. But with drive-to-store, it targets local consumers who are already planning to buy.
The benefits of web-to-store
A web-to-store strategy offers various advantages for businesses. For example, it allows them to:
- Respond to Google's local search trends;
- Increase traffic POS traffic;
- Be visible, even with strong competition;
- Develop your brand in a catchment area;
- Save customers time;
- Generate incremental sales.
What are the objectives of a web-to-store strategy?
A web-to-store strategy is essential for retailers with one or more points of sale, as it helps to achieve several key objectives.
Bringing customers to the point of sale from the site
The site is a real showcase for brands and their points of sale. It significantly increases physical traffic in shops. In the case of web-to-store, the objective is to capture an audience that is looking for information on the characteristics of a product. In order to attract them to the point of sale, it is therefore essential to present a complete sales pitch (description, photo, etc.) for products.
Increase sales on the website
Sometimes a user searches for information with the aim of buying in a shop, but finally decides to make a purchase on the website. This is often the case when the customer has all the necessary information and is convinced by the online product presentation. In this sense, web-to-store also has a positive impact on online sales. A complete and attractive product description will increase the number of purchases on the website!
Facilitating customers' access to the establishment
Making access easier for customers is one of the objectives of web-to-store. Indeed, since this type of consumer wants to go to the shop to buy, it is necessary to do everything possible to make access easier for them. There are several techniques for this:
- Fill in the Google location form;
- Highlight the address on the website;
- Place call-to-actions with an itinerary.
Attracting customers in-store with social media
The website is not the only element for developing web-to-store. Social networks also have their part to play! Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok are all very popular, especially with the younger generation. With this multi-channel approach, retailers will boost their strategy by addressing a much larger target.
What strategies should be put in place?
Numerous effective devices have appeared in the world of e-commerce. Practical, it is now essential to integrate them into one's web-to-store strategy in order to generate traffic in shop.
Click and Collect
It is possible to develop a web-to-store strategy thanks to Click and Collect. This concept allows consumers to reserve and pay for their product online and then collect it from the shop. Click and Collect has been very successful because it reduces shipping costs and delivery times and ensures that customers can be sure that products are available. According to Convertize, high shipping costs are responsible for 60% of shopping cart abandonments. Another major benefit for customers is that they don't have to wait in line!
The Store Locator and the Product Locator
The Store Locator is particularly useful for Internet users: it indicates the nearest shop that has the product they are looking for. This saves time and guarantees that customers will be able to purchase the desired item.
With the Product Locator, consumers can check directly whether the item is available at the point of sale. Thanks to this feature, Internet users can be sure that they are not making a trip for nothing.
Making an appointment online
Online appointment booking is more suitable for service businesses such as hairdressers or garages. It is a very convenient feature for consumers, as they can make an appointment at any time with just a few clicks. It is also a faster way than calling or emailing.
Web-to-store: what are the challenges?
POS offer real benefits to consumers. However, they face some limitations.
Finding the product at the point of sale
Unlike a website, it is often more difficult to find the right product in the shop. This can be a frustrating experience for a consumer. But there are alternatives to remedy this situation. For example, store-to-web allows customers to be redirected to the website, where they will find what they came for. Employees can also place the order directly in the shop to further satisfy consumers.
The in-store customer experience
To increase online traffic, a website must be attractive. This is also the case for points of sale, where the customer experience is particularly challenged. In order to stand out and offer a pleasant moment to their customers, brands must implement a well-tested strategy: a warm welcome, well-trained staff, loyalty programme, Click and Collect... In short, consumers must be pampered.
Websites allow customers to buy at any time. This shopping convenience is more limited when it comes to a physical shop, as it has to respect opening hours. If consumers cannot buy or test items at the point of sale, it is important to offer them an alternative on the website with an outstanding service.
Using web-to-store effectively
Here are some tips for fine-tuning your web-to-store strategy.
Whether it's social media or the website, engaging, personalised and relevant content will have a far more significant impact. It is therefore fundamental for retailers to put forward qualitative content that will make customers want to find out more. There are a few ways to create engaging content:
- Publish regularly;
- Distribute interactive content;
- Offer varied content (photos, videos, etc.);
- Prioritise quality over quantity.
High quality call-to-actions
Generally, the call-to-action incites the Internet user to carry out several actions such as making a purchase, downloading a document or clicking on a link. In the case of web-to-store, it is interesting to create CTAs that lead to a route to the point of sale or to other products of the same brand. This is a way of retaining the customer and encouraging them to come to the shop.
In order to perfect a web-to-store strategy, retailers can set up geolocalised campaigns. These digital advertisements, broadcast on social networks or on programmatic display, will not only target a nearby audience, but will also address a qualified public, which has a genuine interest in the items offered. The company will then become known to relevant prospective customers who will potentially visit the point of sale after searching online. Local marketing experts such as DeepReach offer effective solutions for creating and delivering location-based campaigns.
To conclude, web-to-store offers infinite possibilities for retailers. In fact, regardless of their size,all brands can take advantage of the web to enhance their points of sale and target qualified prospective customers!