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Tutorial 6: Merging the Online and Offline

Over the last few tutorials we’ve talked about online tools for business. Matching what you do in the online world with what you are doing in the offline world is very important for business success. Businesses need to avoid viewing online tools as a separate process to normal business practices. The businesses who are able to compliment both the physical and online aspects of their business with each other are those who derive its real value.

This isn’t always something that will happen overnight. It will take time, trial and error, involvement of other members of your business and it may take your customers a while to get used to your new ways of doing business.

But there are some other practical tools that can help your customers’ transition easily between your physical and virtual stores.

Google Offers

Google Offers allows businesses who are using Google Places (see tutorial two) to create online coupons that are redeemable in store. This provides a great way to create a link between your online traffic and in-store foot traffic.*

Google make setting up the offer and customer redemption easy and adaptable, meaning the process is easy to use whether your business is tech-savvy or not. In the following video Google show how easy offers can be to redeem for your business.

QR Codes

Google Offers will help turn online visitors into physical visitors. How do we reverse the process and get your physical visitors talking about you and sharing your business online? One easy way is the use of QR codes.

QR codes are square barcodes that can be scanned with a mobile device that will automatically direct the user to a webpage about your business. Creating a QR code takes very little time and effort, and there are plenty of free online generators (such as goqr). Simply choose where you would like the code to direct the user, and select a size for the QR code and then apply to your medium.

In its most basic form, you might like to have the QR code displayed on a counter sign or in your shop window, taking visitors to a page of your website with more information or to your Facebook page where they can share with friends. You might tie the code in with an in-store offer, for example “like our Facebook page for a free upgrade”.

Experiment and try new things with this low cost tool. It’s a great chance to start generating more online discussion about your business.

Loyalty Apps

If you’re not yet confident to start managing your own offers and QR codes, there are now solutions that are ready made to apply to your business.

Rewardle are a Melbourne based company offering loyalty and coupon digital programs in a solution that is created and implemented for you. Customers receive a free card and keyring with a QR code and simply scan when they’re in your store to accumulate points and rewards. They can track their progress online and on the Rewardle iPhone and Android apps. For those who need a little more help getting  a program running, this may be the option for you!

*Do note that these offers are very different to the online coupon websites which have been generating negative press in recent years. You are in full control of your offers and for how long they are valid.