We all know that online shopping is taking over the retail world, HBR
said it best: "In the future of retail - we are never not shopping". This statement couldn't be more true, with e Commerce sales in Australia
projected to grow 14.4% this year and, by 2018, expected to represent 5.6% of retail sales in the country. Additionally, 79.4% of internet users are predicted to make an online purchase this year – something which is understandably causing traditional bricks and mortar retailers more than a little anxiety.
So, you may ask yourself where do retailers go from here?
Follow the market. Much in the same way a customer might ask you for a blue shirt when you only make that style in white, you find them an alternative or, if there have been enough requests, you make that shirt in blue - following the demand of potential customers.
Make sure your store is no longer the only touch point.
Having a location no longer dictates who can access your products – if someone in Alice Springs and wants a shirt from your shop in Melbourne, they can. If you didn’t have your store online though, the customer wouldn’t have known they needed that shirt and you wouldn’t have made that sale.
That’s where e Commerce comes in. Sell your products through a simple, easy to use, easy to find, descriptive website. Combine this with a digital marketing strategy that bring customers in through multiple channels and open your doors to people all over the world - your sales possibilities are now endless.
So, you’ve now decided if you're not selling online you're missing out on a huge chunk of the pie – where do you start?
The same place you would start in your actual store:
Make it easy, make it intuitive, and just like in a brick and mortar stores, draw your customer's attention to benefits, sales, and signpost everything – and I mean everything.
You have just under 3 seconds to get your customers attention once they are on your website. That’s all. If you don’t have a link for ‘shoes’ on your clothing site and instead list them under ‘accessories’, customers will find somewhere that does explicitly state they sell shoes - and in fact, shoes are on sale on their site.
User Experience (UX) online is the same as employing super patient, extra polite sales assistants in your brick and mortar store – it will make your customers experience more enjoyable, and they are therefore more likely to buy and come back again. Having your website design and content meet the needs of the customer ensures it's easy for them to find what they want in 2.6 seconds you're well on your way to making online sales. It also helps to make sure that you’re looking after your SEO and social media presence too – helping you reach people in those moments we call ‘micro-moments’.
is when someone wants to buy a new shirt. They perform a Google search and if your SEO or SEM campaigns are up to snuff you will appear for ‘men’s blue shirt’, because that’s what you sell. Planning for Micro Moments and capturing them means being in all the places you think your current and potential customers will look for you, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram just to name a few. This includes having your bricks and mortar store registered to its address with Google My Business. Then when someone Googles your store the phone number, location and even a map appears alongside your website making it even easier for people to find and contact you - right now.
If you know your customer, you know what it is that they’re looking for and can make the experience easy, there is no reason why they wouldn’t buy what you have on offer – all you’ve gotta do is be there.
It's about them
People don’t buy products, they buy a better version of themselves. So all design, copy and marketing material should be based on this premise - think about them and what they want.
Take the shirt you're wearing for example, did you go to the store you bought it at thinking about the store? How great the shop looks and how nicely everything is displayed? It can happen, but it’s unlikely. You went into that shop because you needed a new shirt, you wanted to look good, and to get a better shirt than the one you were wearing at the time. It was possible that the shop had shirts that you may like. So you go in.
Customer Experience and micro-moments help people forge connections with a brand – you're not going to say good things and continue going to a store where the displays are a mess, you can’t find your size and the customer service is awful. Same with e Commerce – set everything out logically, with purpose and be helpful in all the right ways. Don't be the annoying sale assistant that follows customers around the store pointing out things they've shown no interest in. Be the guy who is friendly and helpful, who gave you a discount because they were feeling good about your purchase – that’s a store you’ll have a connection to, and you’ll come back to again and again.
Once you have decided to get your online ducks in a row, learn how to improve and build your online marketing strategy and sales by bringing people into your website (Part 1
) and keeping them there (Part 2