MadAveGroup has provided marketing services to tire retailers and automotive aftermarket clients for decades. And lately, Tire Review Magazine has been tapping into our experience.
For the third time in 16 months, the trade mag has published an article featuring input from a member of our team. WebArt's Director of Digital Marketing Brad Timofeev is featured again in the abridged piece below. Take a look.
Myth #2: Once in-store shoppers begin looking at their smartphone, the store has lost their attention.
Fact: Stores can grab consumers’ attention through search results and a retailer’s mobile site or app.
Consumers look at competitor sites, but a greater percentage look at search engine results and the retailer’s website/app. Forty-two percent of in-store consumers conduct online research while on location via:
• 64% - search engines
• 46% - retailer’s website/app
• 30% - a different retailer’s website/app
• 26% - another type of website/app (coupon site, review site, etc.)
This means stores should optimize their online presence (including search results, website, app, and mobile ads) to engage consumers while they’re inside the store. According to Brad Timofeev, Director of Digital Marketing for WebArt, a digital marketing agency with locations in Ohio and Virginia, this involves putting together a strategy with a deep understanding of the customer journey and how you can move them through it more smoothly.
“Potential customers look to your website during more stages of the buying cycle than any other touch point,” he says. “They might visit you online during the discovery, evaluation, conviction and action stages, so the website is where you should invest the most dollars and time.”
Timofeev recommends content marketing to attract visitors at the initial stages, as dealers can craft content based on consumers’ specific search intent. (For example, “What’s the best oil for my type of driving?” or “How to know when you need new brakes.”)
“However, before creating content, you should perform a basic search query for your topics to see which types of content show in the search results,” he notes.
“Mobile apps are a great tool for existing customers to use and for you to retain them,” Timofeev adds. “Your app really only needs to provide service reminders and a way to schedule appointments. The app should push those reminders to your customers’ mobile devices, along with information about why certain services are so important.”
Myth #3: Online research has limited what consumers expect from stores; they really just go to stores to complete a transaction.
Fact: Consumers still visit stores for more than just transactions, but they now expect more out of any place they shop; they want informed, customized experiences.
According to the study, 69% of consumers used physical stores for information during different phases of the purchase process:
• 32% found inspiration - the time they realized they wanted or needed a particular product.
• 33% did research - the time they actively looked and researched the purchase.
• 55% bought - the time they purchased the product.
• 14% post-purchase - any behavior they participated in after the purchase
Consumers polled said they would be more likely to shop in stores that offer personalized coupons and exclusive in-store offers (85%) as well as recommendations for specific products to purchase (64%).
Tire dealers can take advantage of these tendencies by delivering customized offers and recommendations right to consumers as they search on their phone or by integrating them into the in-store experience.
“It’s important to realize that not all of your customers are at the same stage in the buying cycle, so they’re going to have different tendencies when shopping in-store,” Timofeev says. “For instance, if a customer comes in for scheduled maintenance or to buy tires, he’s already chosen to do business with you. At that point, it’s your job to retain that customer by providing a great experience and adding any value you can. But there’s also this possibility: A customer comes in for scheduled maintenance and, after inspecting his vehicle, you tell him that his car requires more work than he expected. He might pull out his smartphone and start shopping around for that additional service while he’s in your store.”
He adds that while the in-store experience includes everything from the shop’s appearance, cleanliness and aroma to colors, signage, displays, furniture and the music or TV, so much of customer retention is dependent upon your staff and each customer interaction.
“They should be trained extensively in communication of your brand promise,” Timofeev says. “They also need to drive customers to specific actions: using the mobile app; signing up for your monthly email flyer or social media pages, and taking advantage of the resources on your website, such as coupons and tire selectors. Your waiting areas should reinforce those messages, too, through digital signage, in-store audio, table stands, pull-down banners and geofencing notifications.”
Rather than marginalizing the value of in-store shopping, Google’s research shows that smartphones and online information offer an opportunity for stores to enhance consumers’ shopping experience.
“It’s important to make it easy for customers to find the information they want and need, whether it’s on a well-designed mobile website that’s intuitive and easy to navigate, or an uncluttered store that features helpful POP displays, audio and video,” Timofeev says.
“At every point of contact, make it easy for customers to choose you,” he adds.