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We all know influencer marketing can drive online sales, but it can also increase offline sales. Using influencers to generate foot traffic to your brick and mortar — particularly with Gen Z consumers — is an effective way to grow your omni-channel business. While eCommerce sales surged during the pandemic, today’s shoppers are ready to expand their transaction options offline. In 2022, consumers surveyed in the Square Future of Commerce report said that 30% of their monthly retail purchases were made online, down from 34% in 2021. In-store shopping is experiencing a resurgence and influencers are a powerful way to increase offline and online traffic alike.
Gen Z shoppers, in particular, look to influencers for purchasing guidance due to their perceived authenticity. This generation of consumers makes purchasing decisions in part based on personal alignment with a brand or individual, according to Harvard Business Review. For this reason, social media creators and influencers are particularly persuasive to Gen Z consumers, who are driving the early adoption of many mainstay retail trends.
If you aren’t already targeting Gen Z shoppers, you’re likely missing out on a substantial segment of your total addressable market. In 2022, Business Insider estimated the Gen Z shopping power to be over $360 billion in disposable income, more than double what was estimated three years ago.
Let’s explore how your omni-channel business can stay ahead of the competition by using influencers to generate brand awareness and grow your business’s revenue.
The comeback of in-person shopping
Many retailers welcome the return of in-store shopping because customers typically spend more in person than online. According to First Insight’s State of Consumer Spending, 71% of shoppers say they’ve spent $50 or more when they shop in-store, compared to 53% reporting they’ve spent $50 or more when shopping online. Consumers are also less likely to return their in-person buys because they know exactly what they’re getting at the time of purchase and they’re less likely to abandon their carts due to surprise shipping costs. For these reasons, it’s no surprise that 35% of retailers surveyed in the Square Future of Commerce report want to offer a stronger in-store shopping experience.
There are many ways to drive customers to shop in person. For beauty and food and beverage businesses, samples and product testing alone may persuade shoppers to visit stores in real life. Influencers often test products online and provide feedback, encouraging their followers to visit stores in person to do the same. If you’re launching a new product, a new location, or manufacturing buzz with a creative campaign, influencers can also help amplify that message and generate excitement.
While influencer campaigns can be difficult to measure, you can easily monitor your online and offline sales and traffic data to identify any increases directly after your influencer campaign, which is a good indicator whether the campaign was successful or not. While old fashioned, asking customers how they heard about your business at checkout is also informative. With Square for Retail, omnichannel selling is made easy by keeping all customer, sales, and inventory data in sync. Using Square, you can also give customers the option to purchase their products online and pick them up in person later, encouraging additional in-person purchases.
How to develop an influencer strategy
When developing your influencer strategy, two main factors are essential: the type of influencer(s) you’d like to work with and the platform(s) where you’re looking to make the most impact. There are four different influencer types: nano, micro, macro, and mega, with each type having a defined range in terms of following. Nano influencers typically have less than 1,000 followers, mega influencers have over 1 million followers, with micro and macro influencers falling neatly in between.
Keep in mind that larger influencers don’t automatically guarantee the largest return on investment. Nano and micro-influencers with trusted followings can often bring more impactful results. Remember to do your research and vet your short list of selected influencers. Take a look at their past or current partnerships and check for factors such as engagement and traffic to help paint a better picture of how they fare with their audience.
The influencer type and the selected platform have a direct tie to compensation, so consider choosing one platform to get started. Social listening can help you choose the best platform by identifying where people are talking most about your industry. Influencer rate maps, such as influence.co’s Instagram influencer rate map, can provide a baseline of how influencers on different platforms are paid.
Analyze your budget to determine the kind of influencer you can afford. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are some nano influencers who will consider complimentary products as a form of compensation. Regardless of compensation type, remember to set clear expectations and manage the relationship appropriately.
Once your budget is set, determine your overall goals and messaging. Is there a new market you want to tap into? Or do you, perhaps, simply want to raise awareness about a new product? With your goals in mind, choose three to five things you want customers to know about your brand and products and emphasize them for the influencer. For some influencers, they prefer to have a list of key points to touch on and others may prefer an entire script. Have your messaging ready before you engage in the event there are questions or concerns.
When it comes to engaging with influencers, look in their bio for any booking or contact information. Some macro influencers may have talent agencies and managers they communicate through whereas nano and micro influencers may simply prefer a direct message on the intended platform. It’s important to communicate with influencers via their preferred method to make a proper first impression and to ensure your message is seen.
Once your influencer marketing strategy is launched, encourage your influencers to geotag your business in their content so your customers don’t get your business confused with a similar business. For local businesses, geotagging also makes it easy for shoppers to find your store in congested areas.
Be sure to maximize your marketing investment by featuring screenshots and links of the influencer’s post in your email campaigns. Square Marketing makes it easy to include links and images in your professionally designed campaigns so you can boost customer engagement and present your brand in the bestpossible way.
Staying ahead of the curve with influencers
Keeping up with emerging consumer trends is critical to the success of forward-looking businesses. Influencer marketing is not a new concept, but harnessing influencers to maximize your online and offline traffic, while reaching Gen Z shoppers, is a savvy and effective way to ensure your business continues to grow without wasting marketing dollars. Developing an authentic connection with your customers that keeps your brand relevant and consumers coming back for more is a recipe for long-term success.