In the world of retail, the relationship between the digital world and the physical one has always been complex. But with 78% of the US population over 15 shopping online, it is impossible to ignore that most people are beginning their shopping experience outside of a store. For retail destinations, a well planned, well executed digital strategy can capture this traffic and in the process, convert digital interest into engaged and inspired physical customers.
Montclair Plaza (in Montclair, CA) found itself in such a dilemma a few years ago. The “mall” was in need of a modern transformation and in the process, its digital presence also required an overhaul. In the process of becoming Montclair Place, the destination wanted a fully integrated website that could help draw online customers to this exciting new shopping and dining experience. That’s where The Ocean Group came in to help.
To meet the needs of Montclair Place, we created 5 powerful, unique tools to elevate their customer’s digital experience:
1. Custom 3D Mapping
A map sounds so simple, until your customer tries to place themselves at “you are here” dot while their baby cries and Xmas is three short days away. At Saltwater, our years of experience have taught us that mapping is one of the most powerful yet often underutilized tools that, when leveraged correctly, can create immediate, tangible results. From Google integration to key word searches to floor plan accuracy, the basics of mapping are often overlooked. For Montclair Place, we went a few steps further, creating a custom 3D mapping experience for foolproof navigation. In addition, this system compliments a dynamic business directory that highlights each business, all within a system which is easily updated by the Montclair staff. This multi-level locator is also accessible via Google Maps, ensuring consistent data for the customer whether on desktop, tablet or mobile.
Stores go to great effort to great unique, engaging events to drive traffic to their business. In addition, the destination itself provides many intensive, well planned events to benefit the entire collective. Yet when these events are indistinguishable online, all participants risk losing all of their time and effort to weak results. For Montclair Place, we created an online event submission and approval process so that all business can focus on selling instead of event planning. These events are then showcased in calendar pages that are both captivating and intuitive. Shoppers can even buy tickets, download a schedule reminder or amplify the event by sharing on social media.
3. Mailing List Integration
Like mapping, a mailing list sounds very simple, just get people’s emails and send them news. Easy. However, when a mailing list is utilized correctly, it can increase revenues up to 781% and increase conversions up to 355%. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to segment a list, yet only 11% of marketers take this vital step mainly because their systems are not configured correctly. To ensure that Montclair Place could easily harness this advantage, The Ocean Group created custom list segmentation that integrates seamlessly with Mail Chimp, enabling the destination to send their shoppers valuable updates without the risk of over saturating any inboxes.
4. Smart Social Media
Since 78% of Americans now have a social media profile, the role of social in a media strategy is no longer optional. To be truly great at driving a business, a strong social strategy & commitment is key. For Montclair Place, The Ocean Group helps to amplify their social engagement and return by monitoring the traffic from social to the website and ensuring their alignment. For example, if a store promotes an upcoming event on Twitter and it drives traffic to www.montclairplace.com, all players want to ensure that this event is accurately reflected on that website as well.
5. Strong Content
As the saying goes “Content Is King.” That is true now more than ever. No matter how strong the technology is to support your destination, the content that lives online must also compelling to truly convert eyeballs to paying customers. Our content on Montclair Place’s website grows even stronger as their team adds a targeted perspective. This recent post on www.montclairplace.com featuring a local lifestyle blogger/influencer is a great example. Posts like these are a great way to attract local shoppers and give the destination unique content to distribute across all of its channels.
Using these five tools: Mapping, Event Support, Mailing List Integration, Social Media & Content, destinations can create a digital presence that both supports and propels their physical business. With the correct strategy and implementation, this can all be done with minimal stress on a team and within a reasonable budget. The Ocean Group is proud of our partnership with Montclair Place and humbled by of our role in its successful transformation.
Email marketing: http://www.pinpointe.com/blog/top-6-neglected-email-marketing-tools
Online Shopping: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6