If being able to market the type of product a shopper is searching for at the exact moment they need them is the Holy Grail of retail success, can an offline retailer survive without the help of the online world? Well, no. It may sound counterintuitive, but to succeed as a standalone offline retailer you’ve got to have a dominant online presence.

SDO (Store Discovery Optimisation) gives retailers the luxury of having a valuable online presence to attract customers offline, and can improve businesses of all sizes in a number of ways.

50 percent of shoppers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18 percent of those searches lead to a purchase within a day. Therefore, online and offline are inextricably linked.

Increase your business growth

Before digital and mobile became heavily integrated into our everyday lives, word-of-mouth and heavy foot traffic were all offline retailers needed to secure decent sales. Don’t get us wrong, foot traffic and word-of-mouth can help a retail business, but are not assets you can solely rely on for strong business growth as they only attract a small segment of the overall market. To reach a much wider customer base you’ve got to become discoverable, and SDO is the way to do so.

Become discoverable

The prevalence of mobile search has somewhat fractured the consumer journey, meaning people are searching for products or brands during ‘micro-moments.’ 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to make a purchase decision while they’re shopping. Whether the touch of a button correlates to an online sale, or online directions to an offline sale, consumers are ready and waiting to discover your products.

Capturing shopper intent is key. Google search queries with “near me” have increased 34 times since 2011, and nearly doubled since last year, with the vast majority coming from mobile. Shoppers searching online who want to purchase in-store present a key market to be captured.

The chance to become discoverable online to attract customers offline is now more achievable than ever thanks to SDO. Store Discovery Optimisation is the next big buzzword in online marketing and is a quick and sure-fire way to attract more customers than you could hope for with word-of-mouth and foot traffic alone. SDO is bridging the gap between online discoverability and offline sales.

Engage with an omnichannel experience

Making a decent first impression on customers can lead to a lasting brand memory, which can convert into return sales, product shares and extended user engagement. So how can you as an offline retailer create lasting memories for online users?

The answer is to be easily discoverable.

While omnichannel marketing is nothing new, it’s certainly relevant to offline retailers looking to increase their discoverability. Omnichannel is a multi-channel sales approach that gives consumers an integrated shopping experience. A buyer’s journey may start with a ‘product’ + ‘location,’ or brand search on Google, which is where they should be able to discover your store or brand.

By then applying similar processes to SEO, SDO places your store or stockist in a user’s Google feed to help drive them in-store. From here a user will begin their journey with you, first by viewing product listings, store opening hours and website details, and then perhaps with deeper engagement on social feeds.

Thinking of your store as a ‘media channel’ is one way to understand it: your store is not just a place that sells products, it’s another channel for shoppers to experience you. Retailers need to use metrics to measure its effectiveness accordingly.

While sales might not come directly from within the walls of the shop, the shop influences those sales (much like how other media outlets influence sales).

One brand making huge leaps and bounds with omnichannel marketing is Lorna Jane. By focusing on SDO and social media as engagement tools, Lorna Jane is drawing in customers online and offline by the bucket load and making valuable and lasting impressions as they do it.

Are you optimised for discovery? Register your store today to start increasing shopper visits and sales with Store Discovery Optimisation.