by Carolyn Anderson, Account Manager

In the words of tech editor and blogger Jason Perlow, “clicks are killing bricks.

The close of 2011 brought the announcement of hundreds of brick-and-mortar locations closing for stores such as Sears and Kmart. Business owners both large and small have every reason to feel a bit rattled. Just as marketers must integrate new media into traditionally-based marketing channel models to survive, business owners with storefronts on the ground must adapt their strategies to appeal to consumers in the digital shopping space as well.

But what is the cost of selling online?

Retailers are questioning the future of their offline stores. “How do I keep customers in the store AND online?” “Why don’t my customers value the in-store experience anymore?” “Should I move my business entirely online?”

There is no silver bullet or universal solution to strike a balance between the online and offline world, but there may be a golden ticket! Take the example of Charlie, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who wins one of five coveted golden tickets to step inside the factory where his favorite sweets are created. Consider the appeal: while Charlie is all too familiar with the chocolate bars themselves, there is something special about seeing where they are made; about stepping in to the factory to see, touch, smell and taste the treats. His “in-store”-type experience is interesting and different.

How can your business be more like that Chocolate Factory, providing a unique in-store experience while also adapting to the growing demands of online shoppers in the digital marketplace? Granted, not every product sold in stores is as exciting or delicious as Luminous Lollies and Rainbow Drops, but if you offer a product that people will use in their offline world, you can bet there is value in selling in both the offline and online world. Use the digital space to complement the physical space through online-marketed, redeemed in-store promotions. Take advantage of your courteous and friendly in-store staff to encourage email sign-ups and social site engagement. A consistent and interesting brand both online and offline is the ticket to a successful business model that rewards the customers as well as the bottom line.


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