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Get more out of your physical shops with online marketing
2020 is an eventful year for retail in the Netherlands. Due to the lockdown measures, some retailers have the best year ever. Others saw a sharp decline in turnover due to empty shopping streets. In the meantime, webshop purchases have risen sharply. In addition, marketplaces in particular are seeing a sharp increase. Supply, service and delivery are important reasons why consumers know how to find marketplaces better and better.

As a traditional retailer with physical shops, how do you stand between the violence of marketplaces? When it comes to online marketing, there are still great opportunities to get more out of physical shops. Too often, online marketing focuses only on the webshop. Especially now, it is important to have a strong omni-channel strategy: a strategy in which you use online marketing to get the most out of your webshop and physical shops. In this article we give four tips to improve your omni-channel strategy.

1. Measure = know: chart the effect from online to offline
Too often, online marketing is still only judged on the results of the webshop. This while it is precisely after an online interaction that many users end up making an offline purchase. Taking this ROPO effect into account (research online, purchase offline), the impact of online marketing can be more than four times greater than when only the webshop results are taken into account.

Measuring the impact of online advertising on offline purchases is therefore essential. This effect is different for each retailer. The graph below from this study clearly shows how this already differs per sector.*/https:/

There are several ways to map out the ROPO effect. For example, if you advertise in Google and Facebook, shop visits can be measured. Shop visits can also be measured in Google Analytics. In addition, geographical (on/off) experiments can also help to clarify the impact of online on offline purchases.

When measuring shop visits, think of incrementality: part of the shop visits that are measured are from people who would have gone to the shop without the intervention of an advertisement. At iProspect we mapped out this incrementality by means of a special experiment, using a fake website.

2. Communicate aimed at the webshop and shops
Consumers will often have a better webshop experience with large e-tailers and marketplaces. Retailers with a physical location, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to distinguish themselves with the advantages of a physical shop. In the shop around the corner, customers can buy the product correctly. They can ask for advice. No messing around with returns. These are enormous advantages. So use the mix of your strongest USPs from your webshop and your physical shops.

It is important here to understand the playing field of the competition. With some products, it is mainly the webshops that are your competitor (electronics for example). In that case, communicate the advantages of the physical shops. For other products it is more the traditional retailers (FMCG for example). Focus on a USP that stands out from the competition (service for example).

3. Use online marketing to generate shop visits where it has the greatest impact
Are there shops that are lagging behind in turnover? Has the competitor just opened a new shop? Are there products for which the local stock is too large? With online marketing it is possible to advertise in real time and very locally. Through better collaboration with category and branch managers, online marketing budgets can be dynamically deployed where it has the most impact.


A number of online marketing campaign types have been launched in recent years with this specific goal in mind. These advertising variants show the nearest shop in the image and can be clicked through to a route description. Examples are Local Inventory Ads (Google), Local Campaigns (Google), Local Catalog Ads (Display) and Store Visit Campaigns (Facebook).

4. Use your own channels
The lion’s share of turnover often still comes from physical shops. The website must therefore be more than just a webshop. The website should also (precisely) have as its goal to let people buy in the shop. In this way, the website must also be optimised. The goal is not only to guide users through the webshop’s ordering street as quickly as possible. Communicate your local stock and instructions to your nearest branches as well.

This way you can also get more out of the app. With geofencing, for example, a push notification can be used to show a local action to users in the vicinity of a shop. The app can also be used to improve the shopping experience. For example, the Home Depot (DIY) app has a shop map, and Tesco (supermarket) has a self-scan app to facilitate the payment process.

Also make sure that you are found well. 4 out of 5 people use search engines to find local information. It is therefore important to set up and optimize Google My Business properly. You can also distinguish yourself in this. For example, it is now possible to show products and offers, post posts and videos and have customers make appointments.

A successful omni-channel strategy transcends online and offline
At the end of the day, it is all about the customer. And the customer buys online or offline and orientates online or offline, or both. The goal of online marketing is therefore not only to increase the online turnover, but to increase the total turnover (online + offline). When working in silos, important opportunities remain unexploited. A successful omni-channel strategy should therefore transcend departments. This is often the most complex challenge, but with good cooperation, the customer and the organisation benefit.

About the author: Marcel Smal is PPC strategist at iProspect.

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Bjorjn Kreijen 8 September 2020
Good and clear article Marcel. Unfortunately, the ROPO effect is often still difficult to measure so the ROI / ROAS seems lower than it is likely to be.

Marcel Smal – iProspect 8 September, 2020
That’s right! Because it is often not yet fully measured, many advertisers are indeed doing themselves a disservice. It then seems unfair whether online marketing has less impact compared to, for example, a pure player, while that need not be the case.
There are pretty good options for measuring the ROPO effect (from beacons, to Google products, to geographical experiments). Each of these measurement options has shortcomings, which need to be taken into account, but I think that every form of measuring brings you one step closer to the truth.