Online Registration vs. In-Store Registration: Resolving the Conflict

SignMeUp recently was selected to be the official online registration vendor for Fleet Feet Sports training programs nationwide.  A couple of days ago my colleagues Dan Bloedorn, Todd Bellino and I had the pleasure of attending Fleet Feet‘s National Franchise Conference in Chicago.  We had the online registration presentationopportunity to speak with many franchise owners and answer their questions about online event registration and online training program registration.  Many of them already offer online registration, and are – understandably – concerned about the effect on store traffic.  In other words, if participants register online, they won’t have a reason to visit the physical store.

We were chosen as the official vendor because we have a unique perspective on online registration vs. in-store registration.  Rather than replace store visits, we have developed programs that will help drive traffic into the stores and reward customer loyalty.  Think of your customer base divided into four segments:

  1. Potential customers (currently non-customers but planning to get fit)
  2. Retail only customers
  3. Program/event only customers
  4. Retail AND program/event customers

potential customers

The programs we have created to move people to the upper right bubble include:

  1. SMUpon – Very simply, SMUpons are coupons that you provide to your registrants after they register online.  The coupons can be store offers, sponsor offers, or other offers that will drive traffic into your store.
  2. Friend-get-Friend – FgF can do double duty by both getting more registrants and driving store traffic.  You may recall that FgF is SignMeUp’s easy-to-implement viral marketing program that rewards registrants for encouraging others to register.  You decide on the actual reward – rather than a refund, it could be a coupon or other offer that provides incentive for registrants to visit.
  3. Givamajig – Givamajig is our online fundraising widget.  Fundraising for a favorite cause can be a powerful motivator for event participation.
  4. Social media marketing – Our social sharing tools make it easy for registrants to publicize your event.

The upshot is that, as a retailer, you no longer need to fear online registration.  Rather, embrace it and make it work for you.

Do you think online registration has helped or hurt store traffic?

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