The Bricks And Mortar Online Sales Funnel

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Remember how retailers used to feature CTAs like “Find us Online!” in their commercials, mailers, and in-store displays?

Maybe it seemed super hip and forward-thinking to older generations. But for Generation X and Yers, it just seemed absurd. Of course your company is online, my freaking plumber has a website, we thought.

Here’s the thing; these retailers were reacting to surveys in which a significant chunk of their customers, for whatever reason, indicated that they weren’t aware of the company’s online presence. “Check out our website” isn’t much of a Call-To-Action, but it does address the problem, albeit clumsily.

Just a few years later, these same massive retailers are having the exact opposite problem. Everyone is aware of their e-commerce presence, while sales at bricks and mortar locations are flagging.

So what are they doing about it? According to the NYT, they’re doing something that borrows heavily from a favorite digital marketing tactic: Front-end funnels.

Smart online retailers are leveraging their web sales to get customers back in their stores with free, instant in-store pick-up options… which theoretically equates to sales on the back-end.

For example, back in April, Walmart began offering consumers the option to order an item online and pay cash when they arrive to pick it up. The original idea behind the move was to appeal to the large percentage of shoppers who don’t have access to credit or debit cards.

Oddly enough, 40% of the consumers who chose the “pay cash” options online, used a credit/debit card when they arrived in the store.

Why? Some online shoppers were undoubtedly concerned about identity theft, but a percentage of these consumers also decided to do some additional shopping and racked up a larger bill than they originally planned.


This may be the simplest takeaway I’ve ever posted to the DM Blog: Build a sales funnel.

No matter what business you’re in, or how many products you do or don’t have, you must have a front-end offer and a back-end funnel. That’s how you increase your average customer value and retention — by offering add-ons that increase the effectiveness of your original offer.

–>> For more information on building the perfect sales funnel, join DM Pro and check out the December 2011 issue of the DM Newsletter!

About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
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