Online-only businesses have been increasing over the last few years. If you own an online business how can you differentiate your business from your competitors? How do you make your product or service standout in a busy e-commerce marketplace? Trying some offline marketing may help you increase your brand awareness and reach a wider audience.
Statistics Canada data shows that e-commerce sales are only about 2% of total retail sales in Canada. There is a huge untapped market for your virtual business. Some people prefer to view the product in person before buying. Why not offer them the opportunity to do so in an offline environment. Allowing people to see and touch your product can reassure them that your product is exactly what they are looking for and therefore prompt them to order it online.
Some ideas that could get your brand noticed in an offline marketplace are:
Set up a popup store — scout out different locations such as malls, fairs or other venues where you could display your product/service, take advantage of events or celebrations.
Participate in tradeshows — find the right show for your business, certain shows may have a theme which ties in to your products or service or perhaps an industry show could expose your offerings to people with similar interest
Sponsor your own event — encourage people to come out and participate in an event, generate excitement by offering free or discounted products or service, have a contest.
Join a business network or association and offer your colleagues samples or displays of your product
Negotiate the renting of physical space in an existing business - display your offerings in a well-established retail business and leverage their existing clients.
Other ways to reach customers offline would be through creative advertising. You may want to try wrapping your vehicle with your logo and website address. Your business now has a mobile platform so wherever you travel so does your business. Business cards could also be a form of advertising. Leave them at local coffee shops, on public bulletin boards, anywhere you think your potential clients may frequent. Can you leverage local media, radio, TV or newspapers to create a buzz with their audiences?
Reaching out in ways that are usually reserved for bricks and mortar businesses may end up boosting your online sales. There are many other ways to reach out to your customers; take a look at some other ways to promote and advertise your online business in an offline market.