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How to Connect Offline and Online Sales in 2021

In 2021, sales are not limited to any particular mode. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many new businesses and start-ups have completely shut down due to lack of interactions. As a result, business owners are trying everything they can to keep their business running and help in its growth. 

With more and more digitalization, it is quite a common trend that most people are opting to shop online. However, offline sales are also going at the same pace. To get the best out of the business, it has become essential now to be able to connect the offline sales and online sales.

Different brands provide different types of buying experiences. Even among the various brands, there is a huge difference in the customer behaviour for online and offline shopping. The sales and engagement in both online and offline mode are good, but they have quite a difference between them. In order to nurture the customers properly, both the modes are very important. They can help in guiding a potential customer through conversations to the final sale point.

Brands can now also deliver a clear message of their intentions with offline and online sales strategies. The marketing techniques are different in both online and offline modes. Connecting these two modes is the key to get the best out of both online and offline sales. Rather than working on both the modes individually, connecting them can be more effective to get customer interactions. When offline and online sales connect, marketing teams will be able to make better decisions. With proper connection, it is extremely beneficial for the business.

Why are online sales so popular?

Since most people are trying out digital procedures, online sales are undoubtedly one of the most favourite modes of shopping for many customers. There are many reasons for its popularity. Primarily, the customers need not go anywhere when they are shopping or requesting a service online. 

They can simply do it from their home or workplace, provided they have a proper tech gadget and a running internet connection. In most popular e-commerce platforms, the product is shipped and delivered right to the address provided by the customer. Also, online stores provide a tremendous variety, which are sometimes unavailable in offline modes. Even if there are some particular products unavailable now, they can be made available soon.

Another primary reason why online shopping and sales are so popular is because of the discounts. Offline stores also provide discount and sale offers. However, online modes often give an extra amount of discount on certain occasions. This attracts even more customers to avail such offers with online payment. All of these reasons have made online sales transparent and very popular among the customers.

Why are offline sales still equally relevant?

Regardless of the popularity gathered by online sales and shopping, a huge section of the customers still prefer shopping in physical stores. Now, the question can come that if online sales are so convenient, why are offline sales going on? The answer is simple. Many customers feel a sense of trust and relief when they are observing products physically before buying them. This is the same for requesting any service as well. As a result, offline sales are equally as important as online sales.

In most of the cases, customers get backed with assurance while completing an offline purchase. When they observe the products on their own, that real-life feeling provides a trustworthy sense that online sales may not be able to reproduce. This can help in deciding whether to make a purchase or not.

However, that doesn’t mean that every product will have to be bought offline. Apart from the product, the customer’s mentality acts as a factor in this case as well. Also, some people have a bad experience with online sales. This is also a reason why some people still prefer offline sales over online ones.

What is the importance of connecting offline and online sales?

It is evident that a business can get the best out of its sales when it connects both its online and offline approach. Potential customers will always be happy to get more options. Also, connecting the offline and online sales also combine the advantages that both the sales have to offer individually. 

When connected, the customers can get information through all the possible channels. Connecting the online and offline sales gives a very positive message to the customers. It helps in building the brand, and retain the loyal customers, as well as increase the customer engagements.

This joint shopping experience can be extremely delightful for the customers. They can pay digitally but still shop in physical stores. Also, the online websites can track the preferences of the customers, which the offline stores can replicate. This way, customers can be presented with the best experience. With consistency in both modes, the marketing can be cost-effective as well.

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How can online and offline sales be connected?

There are many possible ways to connect the sales of both the offline and the online mode. The focus is primarily on combining the marketing strategies, as it is the ultimate way to improve the sales on both the modes.

Some of the best ways to connect offline and online sales are as follows-

Using both modes for promoting each other

It is a wrong notion that offline and online sale modes cannot be used for the promotion of each other. In fact, the reality is just the opposite. Both of these modes complement each other so well that they can be promote each other effectively.

There are various ways to do this. The offline market products are the ones which the customers will buy from the stores. However, statistics show that the majority of the customers tend to research a product before actually deciding to buy them. The online webpages of the store can be used to provide proper and detailed descriptions of the offline products. That way, customers will know for sure what it is they want to buy, and can come to the physical store to get an in-hand feel of it.

At the same time, the offline store can promote the online products as well. Supposedly there are few products which are not available in the store currently, but available online. Such hoardings and advertisements regarding the availability of the online products can be put up on the offline store. The stores can even feature the discounts and offers available online.

When the advertisements of the offline products in the online store, and vice-versa are done, customers can get a very good idea of the products. This can help to develop the brand as well, and can make potential customers into loyal customers. Every time an advertisement about the other mode is shown, the customers will also take notice. When the promotions are going on both the modes, a significantly larger number of customers will be reached. Thus, it will be much easier to reach the target audience with the same amount of marketing efforts. This is beneficial for the business as well.

Using the online and offline data and tying them up

Another great way to connect the online and offline sales is to use the sales data of both the modes and tying them up. The aim here is to use the sales data to benefit both the modes using each other’s data. When the sales data of both the modes are used together, the customer experience can be enhanced significantly. As a result, it is also great for the business brand.

In the online sales mode, the data which is mainly used consists of the analytics. Here, the customer habits, preferences, and business details can all be found out. Using these data, the future experiences of the customers can be specialized. As a result, each customer can have custom preferences and approach towards them.

In the case of the offline mode, it is the CRM data. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. As the name suggests, it manages the relationship of the business with the customer. Previously, CRM tasks included manual entry of the customer details and the relevant sales details. Nowadays, modern CRM advanced software and tools are available. These can be used for direct integration with the online data.

Once the integration is done, both the data of the online and offline mode are tied. It provides a complete checkup of everything minor to major related to the customer behaviour. As a result, the next sale or business event can be absolutely nailed. Target audiences can be reached, and they can be presented with personalized promotions with the same amount of marketing.

Keeping the brand consistent

Keeping the consistency of the brand is also one of the ways to connect the offline and online sales. This is mainly done by doing a close follow up of the sales info on both the modes. The key here will be to maintain a synergy across the modes, and integrate them properly. The details of the brand, the products, the available discounts, new arrivals, and new features should be updated on both modes simultaneously.

For example, if a particular product is going on sale in both online and offline mode, the campaigns should be done equally in both modes. In the case of the online store, simple branding and advertisement should be enough to grab the attention of the customers. Its offline equivalent should be present in the physical store too. It can be in the form of a poster or leaflet. The key is to provide the exact details regarding everything in both the online and offline mode.

What for offline store owners?

For owners of physical stores, it is a very good idea to be able to create a virtual store that feels like a digital version of the store. Instead of direct online sales, this would create a great sense of connection in the minds of the customers. The trust and loyalty among the customers will rise surely with familiarity among the online and offline sales. This way, customers can be reached equally from both sides.

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Sure, there will be some exclusive sales products for both online and offline modes. However, their details should be provided in both the channels. Customer service can be joined for both the modes as well. This way, it will be easy for the customers to contact the company through any mode, and communicate through the other, if necessary. Transparency and consistency are the key to develop a brand value. 

Using proper POS systems

POS systems are one of the necessary components of a business. POS stands for Point Of Sale, and it is a system that allows the customers to complete their transaction with the business. Modern POS systems are up to date, and they come with CRM integrated software. These advanced POS systems can help the business a lot by tying up the online and offline sales.

In case of online sales, the customers usually pay via net banking, credit or debit cards, or digital wallets. However, cash on delivery options are also available for some products. When the delivery arrives, many customers tend to use cards for payment. A POS system is useful in such conditions.

Similarly, even in an offline physical store, customers mainly tend to complete the payment via credit or debit cards. Having an advanced POS system can help the customers to make digital payment, while participating in offline sales.

POS systems are great for the business, as the transactions, payment details, and the customer history are all stored in the software. When integrated with a CRM tool, the customer data is also merged with it. This allows us to overview the customer habits and preferences. As a result, the customer experience can be greatly improved.

There are many types of POS systems available in the market. Each system comes with their own sets of benefits and demerits. Therefore, it is wise to compare multiple POS systems in a proper platform such as wisesmallbusiness. In this platform, multiple POS systems can be compared side by side. Business owners can then compare the different POS systems and then choose the one which best suits their online and offline sale needs.

Hosting offline sales and events in social media platforms

There are some particular sales and events that can happen in offline modes only. However, despite the sales event being offline, online hosting of the event can be done. The best place to do this is on social media platforms. This will help to reach the target audience in the fastest possible way. This can help in both enhancing customer interaction, and promotion at the same time.

Social media plays a pivotal role in increasing the customer interactions. These include hosting polls and contests that require customers to participate. Even photographs, videos, and going live on an event is sure to improve the online presence. Audience will react and comment on it, which in turn, will keep the engagement active. The customers can feel they are participating in the offline event through the online platforms.

Hashtags can do the further spreading . One of the best ways to grow the brand is by staying trending, or remaining near the top. The more the online presence, the easier it will be for the customers to reach out to the events online, and be a part of it. Thus, an offline sales event can become an active online marketing campaign as well.

Encouraging customers to try the other mode

Customers who are exclusive to online shopping should be go for offline shopping. Similarly, the offline shoppers should  check out the online options as well. This way, the brand will start to develop as customers start to connect with both the sales modes.

Talking or giving directions cannot make it happen alone. The customers need to find the other mode of shopping to be interesting. One of the best ways to do this is by offering exclusive discounts and offers. If the offer for the same product is different in online and offline stores, customers will check the better offer.

If customers check both options, the relationship among online & offline mods can be connected & strengthened. The total engagement will also increase in this way. As long as the customers are trying out the new modes, they will find the other mode interesting as well. This way, complete tying up of the online and the offline sales modes is possible.

Final Words

All of these are some of the best methods through which online and offline sales can be connected. The benefits are clear. Having the connection between the online and offline sales makes it possible to provide an amazing customer experience. As a result, converting potential customers to final customers can be done much more easily. Also, with more vast reach, engagements with target audiences can be increased. Thus, the awareness of the business and the familiarity with the brand will both increase. Ultimately, this can help a business to stay a few steps ahead of the competition.

Sales associations such as NASP can help in providing long term solutions and ideas regarding connecting online and offline sales.

About the author

Article made possible by Kate Brown. Kate is a content strategist at Outreacheo. She has been working in social media and content marketing for five years. She specializes in the health, tech, innovation, and travel sectors. When she is not writing, you will find her teaching math, and trying new recipes, listening to audiobooks and write audiobook reviews on 10audioz.