How to Convert Your Offline Customers Online

Consumers in Asia Pacific are increasingly choosing to shop online rather than in-store, and by 2021, e-commerce sales will account for more than a quarter of all retail sales in the region.

Despite the growth of online retail, in-store experience is still unbeatable from an experiential perspective, setting the tone for your brand and allowing customers get hands-on with the products. Ideally, your in-store customers would shop with you online as well. So, how do you convert those offline shoppers to online?

There are a range of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that can help you bridge the gap between in-store and online experience. Used correctly, they will offer your customers the best of both worlds.

Why Convert Offline Customers Online?

If you want to boost online sales, attracting new customers should be high on your list of priorities. However, another approach is by converting your in-store customers from offline shoppers to online.

Increasing online sales is not only good from a profit perspective. It is also smart business when you look at the long term.

By catering to your customers’ needs online as well as offline, your brand will play a bigger part in their lives, and hence occupy a more important space for them when it comes to making crucial purchasing decisions.

It will also safeguard your business should you ever have to go online-only, as many companies are. By establishing a significant online presence, you will have a head start should business rates get too high or it is no longer cost-effective to operate a physical bricks-and-mortar presence.

Leveraging Data to Take a More Targeted Approach

So how do you convert offline customers online? This comes down to data. Consumers are more visible online, meaning you can leverage AI and data to better understand them and cater to their needs.

The first step is to combine customers’ offline and online data and letting AI crunch it to create a holistic customer view. Offline data includes customer relationship management (CRM) and that garnered from customers’ in-store activities, such as loyalty cards and questionnaires. Online data covers their browsing history with relation to your website, purchases, and which products they have viewed and/or added to their online shopping cart without completing a purchase.

For example, a bricks-and-mortar shoe store wants to push existing customers to its online store. It would start by uploading all the data to a data science platform, such as AIXON, which will select customers who have not shopped in-store for six months or more, and use AI to gain unprecedented insight into their behaviors, intent and habits.

To further refine and enlarge your customers, you can leverage external data, which encompasses customer activities on the wider web, and isn’t just limited to their interactions with your website or brand. It can include their wider search and browsing history (including which other products they have viewed or bought), what they have written/liked/followed with their social media accounts, as well as their demographic information like their age, sex and location.

All of this information will help you determine their interests outside your channels, so you can focus on those customers most likely to convert or engage with your products. This will also help you refine your audience and how you approach them.

For instance, the mentioned shoe store could use all this data to refine its target audience to only women aged 25-34 who have searched online for running shoes, but who haven’t made a purchase in six months or more. Then it is just a case of exporting the contact list to Facebook and pushing them an advert with recommendations for running shoes. And if they don’t bite straight away? Get back in touch a few days later with a money off voucher. Simple, yet highly effective.

Converting offline customers to online is a valuable way to safeguard and future-proof your business. Not only that, it will also allow you to know more about your customers, enabling you to serve them better and maximize your ROI.

 

Appier’s AIXON data science platform unifies and enriches existing customer data to run AI models and predict your customers’ future behavior. Find out more here.