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David Lee King

Connecting the Physical to the Digital



IMG_0516Recently, while on a family vacation, I noticed something in a couple of stores … and thought I’d share.

My kids wanted to venture into the Disney Store and Build-A-Bear, and I went along for the ride. While in both stores, I saw signs that directed customers to check out the stores’ websites. But not just for kicks – look at what the signs said:

Disney: “Visit DisneyStore.com for an Additional Selection of …”

Build-A-Bear: “have fun and give back at Buildabearville.com.”

This is cool. Why? In both cases, the stores didn’t just have a sign letting customers know they have websites. Nope. Instead, they directed customers to visit the store websites for specific reasons.

By providing those reasons, they helped extend the customer experience with the store onto the web (and into our homes), after the fact. This type of after-the-purchase experience is sometimes called a “post-show” experience. The actual “show” was buying the product or visiting the store.

We can go a bit further with this, too. Look at the specific instructions we are given: Disney directs us to “an additional selection” of stuff. Think about that for a sec – they’re saying the larger, more complete store isn’t the physical store – it’s the digital store – the website.

Build-A-Bear directs us to their virtual world, where we can “have fun and give back.” OK – I don’t get the “”give back” part. But the “have fun” part I do understand! They’re giving you a specific reason to visit their website, and are suggesting it will be a fun experience. I’m guessing they get a lot of first-time traffic with those signs!

When you leave our libraryGuess what? We can do this too!

Look at this pic of a sign in my library, for instance (bigger version here). For a while, we had this large banner sign up by the exit doors – everyone walking past saw this sign. Our goal was simply to remind people that although they were leaving our physical building, their library experience didn’t have to end there. They can visit our digital branch and still do lots of stuff!

We could also direct customers to our “larger store.” Think about this for a sec – which place gives you a larger selection of library materials: browsing the shelves at the physical library … or visiting the online library catalog and putting stuff on hold?

Your larger, more complete library is NOT the physical building. It’s the website – the digital branch.

I’m guessing there are other ways to connect customers to your digital branch, as well as other reasons to do so… what are they? I’d love to hear them!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/ Brian Herzog

    I see this too, and like the idea. But if I see this in a store, and they don’t have something for me to take with me to remind me and what the URL is, then I will forget (if I have my camera with me, I can take a picture to remind me, but I’ve been yelled at by store employees for that).

    So in my library, I always try to link the physical to the digital through the physical – meaning we provide handouts or bookmarks or something with the web address and the reason for visiting it (along with our email and phone for tech support).

  • http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net Brian Herzog

    I see this too, and like the idea. But if I see this in a store, and they don’t have something for me to take with me to remind me and what the URL is, then I will forget (if I have my camera with me, I can take a picture to remind me, but I’ve been yelled at by store employees for that).

    So in my library, I always try to link the physical to the digital through the physical – meaning we provide handouts or bookmarks or something with the web address and the reason for visiting it (along with our email and phone for tech support).

  • http://library.fauquiercounty.gov Dawn Sowers

    David, just participated in your WebJunction webinar on Digital Branch…we have a “mixed” website…but our library community doesn’t seem to be using the digital portions much…do we need to reach out to users who aren’t “traditional” library users? Plus, most people in our county still have dial up Internet, so we believe this may prohibit much of the use of digital services.

  • http://www.gmpl.org/ Jim Peterson

    We use Facebook and the Web at the moment, but are also starting digital downloads in November. We will be using old-skool advertising for most of it, with ads in our local paper and radio spots. Of course the Website will have information there as well as links to the service, but we will likely have to have some signage made up as well.

    Additionally, our patrons have always (well, since 2003 anyway) had the ability to log into our card catalog system and place holds and see if we have books. Our current ILS is our limitation right now as it is VERY basic and not very pretty to look at. Unfortunately our ILS vendor has locked us out of any sort of customizations unless we are willing to pay for them.

  • http://www.gmpl.org Jim Peterson

    We use Facebook and the Web at the moment, but are also starting digital downloads in November. We will be using old-skool advertising for most of it, with ads in our local paper and radio spots. Of course the Website will have information there as well as links to the service, but we will likely have to have some signage made up as well.

    Additionally, our patrons have always (well, since 2003 anyway) had the ability to log into our card catalog system and place holds and see if we have books. Our current ILS is our limitation right now as it is VERY basic and not very pretty to look at. Unfortunately our ILS vendor has locked us out of any sort of customizations unless we are willing to pay for them.

  • http://alteredplates.blogspot.com/ Deb Schiff

    Hi David,
    Just wanted to let you know you have a new fan. A fellow MLIS classmate posted a link your blog to our online classroom, and I immediately began enjoying your postings. You have now joined the “Librarian Blogs” in my Google reader. :) Thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge.

  • http://alteredplates.blogspot.com Deb Schiff

    Hi David,
    Just wanted to let you know you have a new fan. A fellow MLIS classmate posted a link your blog to our online classroom, and I immediately began enjoying your postings. You have now joined the “Librarian Blogs” in my Google reader. :) Thanks so much for sharing your experience and knowledge.

  • http://library.fauquiercounty.gov/ Dawn Sowers

    David, just participated in your WebJunction webinar on Digital Branch…we have a “mixed” website…but our library community doesn't seem to be using the digital portions much…do we need to reach out to users who aren't “traditional” library users? Plus, most people in our county still have dial up Internet, so we believe this may prohibit much of the use of digital services.

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