By John Turner, founder of SeedProd

The popularity of online shopping is booming. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales made up around 10 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the third quarter of 2018. While this is good news for e-commerce websites, it can cause some struggles for brick-and-mortar businesses. Getting people to come out from behind their computer screens and into your store can be difficult. 

In order to get more foot traffic through their stores, many business owners tend to focus on offline marketing tactics like local advertisements and mailers -- forgetting about online marketing strategies such as email. Email marketing isn’t just for e-commerce businesses; it’s a valuable tool that can be used to drive more people to your physical retail location. 

Here’s how to use email to generate in-store traffic. 

Include store locations in every email.

Many of your subscribers may have discovered you on the web and purchased your products online, so they might not even know you have a brick-and-mortar location they can visit. Let them know by adding your store location information to each email you send. This includes a list of locations and full addresses, store hours and store phone number. Consider also letting shoppers know that they can order online and pick up their items in store. 

Segment your email list by location so that you can send each subscriber locations that are relevant to them. For instance, a subscriber that lives in Atlanta doesn’t necessarily need to know the locations of your store in San Francisco. But by segmenting your list, you can send them the exact locations they’d be likely to visit. This type of specific personalization is important to consumers. In fact, according to a 2013 Experian study, personalized emails generated six times higher transaction rates. 

Take advantage of holidays and special events.

Special events and holidays are the perfect excuse for shoppers to take a trip to your store. On holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and so on, consumers are out and about trying to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. But, they’re also shopping for themselves. According to Deloitte Insights, 78 percent of consumers plan to shop for themselves during the holiday season. So, be sure to take advantage of special events and holidays in your email marketing campaigns. 

You can drive a ton of in-store traffic by promoting a holiday sale or special event. It doesn’t have to be a well-known holiday like Christmas, either. You can find unofficial or “niche” holidays that perfectly fit your business. Own a donut shop? Invite your subscribers to celebrate National Donut Day (the first Friday of June each year) with you.

Offer exclusive promotions to in-store shoppers.

There’s nothing like a good deal -- and one thing that might be better than a good deal is an exclusive good deal. Offering promotions that are exclusive to a certain segment of shoppers, such as the shoppers who visit your physical store location, is a great way to make those consumers feel special and appreciated. And of course, if people can get a better deal in person than online, they’ll rush to your store. 

Be sure to promote exclusive promotions to in-store shoppers in your email campaigns. You could promote a store-wide sale, offer a free gift to everyone that makes a purchase in-store or even provide a free extra service like gift wrapping. Don’t just announce these exclusive promotions like you would a regular sale, though -- instead, send an e-vite. When your email subscribers receive a message that says “You’re invited to an exclusive event …” they’ll be much more likely to take action. 

Celebrate customer milestones. 

As mentioned earlier, customers love to feel special and appreciated. So, what better way to show you care than by thanking and rewarding customers for their relationship with your company? You can use email to celebrate a number of customer milestones including: 

  • Birthdays
  • Anniversary of first purchase
  • Anniversary of joining your email list
  • The number of times they used your service (50th coffee purchased, for example)

Of course, to drive more traffic to your store, you need to reward these milestones with in-store deals. For instance, you can set up automated emails to go out on the birthdays of your email subscribers that offer them a special in-store deal or gift.

Your success relies on having an engaged email list. So, if you haven’t started an email list, now is the time. You can create a popup on your website that encourages people to subscribe for the latest news and special deals, even offering 10 percent off their next in-store purchase for joining. With these tips, you can use email marketing to increase your in-store traffic -- and ultimately sales.

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.

Published on: Aug 14, 2019
The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of