Being online isn’t just a convenience for customers; it has become a necessity. Your business should already have an online presence of some sort, it may be hard to figure out exactly what that is. Most businesses should be trying to focus on online sales, but just building an online audience to get them in store is also valuable to a business that doesn’t want to sell their services online. Here are 6 ways a brick and mortar store can build their online audience.

  1. Use Automation Tools

Artificial Intelligence tools make it easier than ever to automate marketing to customers. It can automate texts, emails, and even social media posts. With a machine learning company, AI can analyze data from customers and use that information to give recommendations on the type of content your audience will respond best to and even how to personalize that data to each individual customer. With automation tools, businesses who may not be as familiar with online selling are able to quickly and easily adapt to being online.  

  1. Get a website up and running

If you don’t already have a website online, get it started now. Many customers won’t come in until they’ve checked out your website to figure out what you have to offer. And often, customers assume a business without a website or with an outdated website is a bad store or isn’t a place they want to visit.

For example, when searching for gymnastics schools available online, a customer is going to pick the one that has a nice website that is easy to navigate and is updated over the one that doesn’t have a website at all or even that has an outdated, old site.

brick and mortar
HAY’s, Online Retailer Opens it’s First Brick and Mortar Store
  1. Show your products online

Whether or not you want to actually sell online, showing your products on the Internet will get an online audience more interested in your products. For example, a fast food restaurant may not be able to actually sell online, but they’d still want to list all of their food items and nutritional information online. People are at the point where they do a lot of online research before making decisions about what to buy, even if it is as simple as deciding where to go for a burrito.

  1. Focus on your Niche

When building an online audience, your goal really should be to find a specific set of people. You aren’t looking to recruit everyone on the Internet; you simply want the customers who are most likely to make regular purchases from you. Artificial Intelligence can help a business determine their audience, but it is essential to figure out what your niche is and market towards those people.

In doing this, a business has a much better idea of how to best market online. One example would be for a company that sells baby clothes. The business would want to use influencers on social media who have new babies and a good following and then have them advertise those baby clothes in their social media accounts. Using influencers is an extremely effective way to reach customers, especially given that it is a really great way to focus in on a niche and influencers who already seem like they would use your product or service.

  1. Have a customer portal online

When your customers come into the store and make a purchase, they already like what you have to offer. Offer a customer portal with something useful to them.

For example, you could have a customer portal that keeps track of all their receipts, so they don’t have to. The portal might also give recommendations or allow customers to make a grocery list before heading to the store, as many grocery stores have available. A customer portal also saves a business time because the customers can get answers to their own questions without having to call in to customer service before making a trip.

  1. Make online communication easier

People are starting to prefer communicating with businesses online. If they are unable to do so, they may simply work with another competitor that will communicate with them easily online. Using chat on social media is one of the biggest ways customers are starting to reach out to businesses. If you aren’t already on social media, it’s time to make a big change.

Customers like being able to communicate through text and email. And of course, they will still make phone calls. For small businesses, artificial intelligence chatbots can be used to answer questions through chat, text, and email making it easier than ever to make these options readily available.