How Digital Marketing Drives In-Store Sales And What Retailers Can Do About It

by Ian Harris
05 August 2015

Did you know digital marketing interactions influenced a staggering 40% of in-store retail visits in Australia in 2014?

According to a recent Deloitte report , this puts Australia third in the world rankings, behind the United States (49%) and Canada (41%), but ahead of Germany (30%) and the UK (27%).

But many retailers underestimate the power of digital interactions on shopping behaviour. Sure, you might be engaging with consumers through digital channels, but these interactions are kept very separate to what happens inside the physical store.

two nen using tablet at cafe

This strategy must change. In a phenomenon known simply as “digital influence”, digital interactions are proven to have growing influence on consumers before, during and after their shopping trip.

So how does the “digital influence factor” affect in-store sales? And how can retailers take advantage of the growing trend to better connect with consumers and increase profits?

To answer that, we need first to look at how consumers are using digital during their shopping journey:


Two out of three customers use a digital device before shopping, according to Deloitte’s study. Almost half of shoppers (47%) will use their digital device to compare products, 42% to access product information and 33% to check product availability.

It should come as no surprise then that a massive 72% of shoppers enter a store already knowing what they want to buy after searching online. By comparison, traditional advertising will have influenced just 28%.


1 “Navigating the new digital divide”, Deloitte 2015


One-third of shoppers is using digital while in the store. That's one in every three shoppers who walks through your door who uses their device to find out more about products, compare and check prices online.

Many shoppers have already decided what to buy by the time they reach your front door, but that doesn't mean they're set in stone. There's still time to change their mind or add more to their basket.

So, retailers, are you still wondering where to focus your attention?  

The bottom line is that retailers need to zone in on those moments along the buying journey that are highly influenced by digital.

The rewards are worthwhile: when consumers use digital devices to research and compare products before, during or after they visit the shop, it increases average conversion rates by 25% and order sizes by 21%. That’s no drop in the bucket.

Here’s how to harness digital influence to increase conversion rates and order sizes:

  1. Stop looking at digital and in-store experiences as separate. Look at how you can blend them to create a seamless customer experience.

  2. Invest in your search engine marketing strategy so it’s easier to find your products. Search engine marketing is both an essential and efficient tool for driving in-store sales.

  3. Ensure your website and product pages are mobile-friendly, especially because Google now ranks mobile-optimised sites higher.

  4. Be social media friendly. Invest in social media marketing so you can integrate recommendations and advice into the shopping experience. While you can never take complete control of recommendations and advice, you can be part of the conversation and use it to promote relevant products to your customers.

  5. Use digital to gain a deeper understanding of your customers and provide a more relevant and personalised experience both in-store and online.

Remember, digital is not the competition – it’s a powerful tool for retailers to enhance the customer experience and drive conversions. Now is the time to start using it.

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Find out more about Salmat's search offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Ian Harris
Chief Operating Officer - Digital

Ian has over 25 years’ experience in digital and commerce. Ian specialises in online transformation, ecommerce build and channels. A Chartered Accountant by trade, Ian brings strong commercial skills as well as hands-on delivery and management experience. Ian has delivered change into significant organisations including: (1) P&L accountability for major online sales and marketing channels, (2) Leading the delivery for online implementations from $0.5M all the way up to > $25M, (3) Delivering digital self-service channels to millions of users, (4 )Driving significant incremental conversion over multiple years. Ian has worked in multiple industries across Telco, Manufacturing and Professional Services and brings a unique blend of all of these to today’s commerce landscape.

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