Spielwarenmesse: How brick-and-mortar retailers are positioning themselves in the Internet

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How brick-and-mortar retailers are positioning themselves in the Internet

from Susanne Pilz

The subject of digitalisation is very important for all companies in the toy industry: starting from the little toy shop in the town centre, the franchisees of big chains and also well-known toy manufacturers. Competition with online shops is steadily increasing which is why retailers shouldn't simply ignore this development but use the opportunity to attract local buyers through online advertising.

I have worked in online marketing for over ten years and have supported a huge number of customers with online measures over this time. This included a lot of companies that had no real tradition of Internet presence, such as producers of confectionery, Christmas decorations and baby's and children's fashions. Nowadays virtually every player in the market knows that they should be visible on the Internet. But how?

Online business offers a lot of possibilities, especially a very precise customer analysis, known as profiling. Brick-and-mortar retailers should look very carefully at how online trade actually attracted all their customers.

Exploit the advantages

According to a current study by Ernst & Young, online shops score points for low prices, a wide choice and convenience. These are basically rational reasons for purchasing online.

Brick-and-mortar retailers on the other hand win when it comes to emotions, inspiration and customer advice. The emotional aspect is very important before Christmas, for example. A lot of people remember their childhood when they went into town with their parents and looked at all the Christmas lights and festively decorated shop windows. The words "Christmas" and "childhood" are very important when it comes to toys and it should also not be forgotten that if you do your shopping online you cannot touch and feel the products.

The corner shop also scores highly on the subject of inspiration. If you are looking for a present, you sometimes find the right thing quicker if you are browsing through a real shop - and very important of course is the professional advice that can often help you with your decision.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are not a hopeless case

But how can I use these opportunities as a dealer? This depends very much on your individual business, of course. There is no standard "off-the-shelf" solution. Every online campaign has to be tailor-made for every customer and then optimised.

However, the following procedure could be recommended as one approach:

  1. Tracking, i.e. technical integration of various contact points into the website analysis
  2. Profiling, i.e. analysis of the buying and surfing behaviour of your customers
  3. Media pressure using individual advertising tools, i.e. various performance display measures in order to attract as many visitors as possible to the website
  4. Re-targeting, i.e. specifically targeting customers again
  5. Sales optimisation, i.e. increasing average basket value
  6. Other commitment goals, i.e. optimising customer loyalty measures

These are words that might sound strange to some of you if you have never or only seldom had anything to do with online marketing. If you cooperate with online specialists, however, there are a lot of technical possibilities for positioning yourself advantageously in the Internet and attracting customers into the local shop.

Probably the biggest advantage is that digital business allows you to measure exactly just how efficient the campaign really is - and in real time, too. This means you can react to the first results while the campaign is still running and adjust it if necessary.

In my lecture "Finding local buyers through online advertising" at the Toy Business Forum, I will describe the possibilities of online advertising for brick and mortar retailers. I would also like to explain the technical methods and tools in more detail.

About the author

Susanne Pilz is Country Manager (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) with ad pepper media Germany and has more than 10 years of professional experience in the area of digital marketing. She has been on board since the early days of online marketing in Germany and has turned ad pepper from a Web pioneer into one of the most successful companies in Germany's online advertising industry. Today, she plans and implements advertising campaigns for large brands, as well as medium-sized companies looking to reach new customers through online advertising.

Get more clear practical tips from Susanne Pilz and listen to his presentation on 5 February 2017 (1:00 pm) at the Toy Business Forum at the Spielwarenmesse® 2017. Also find out about other presentations on toy trade, licenses, product range policies and sales training in the Toy Business Forum program.


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