Abercrombie & Fitch is counting on direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales to counter the retail apocalypse, Columbus Business First reports. Despite closing 400 stores over the last few years and the prospect of 60 percent of its U.S. leases expiring over the next two years, the fashion brand saw a 4 percent increase in sales, largely thanks to direct-to-consumer sales.
DTC sales made up 28 percent of Abercrombie’s receipts in 2017, and the company now runs 20 sites and apps in 11 different languages. The company anticipates that online sales combined with a strategic downsizing and redesign of its brick-and-mortar operations will grow the company’s sales from $3.49 billion a year to $5 billion.
Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t the only major retailer redesigning its sales strategy around a direct-to-consumer model. For instance, consumer designer brands Milly, Comme de Garcons and Theory have developed in-house offshoots of their main lines for exclusive distribution through their brands’ direct online and in-store channels. Retailers are prioritizing direct-to-consumer sales because of DTC’s proven advantages over traditional sales models. Here’s a look at some of the reasons the retail industry is shifting to direct-to-consumer sales.
Appealing to Online Shoppers
One reason direct-to-consumer sales is a winning formula for retailers is because an increasing number of online shoppers prefer to make their purchases directly from brands rather than third-party retailers. Over eight in 10 consumers expect to be able to buy directly from brands when shopping online, and nearly nine in ten would prefer to make direct purchases, a BrandShop Digital Consumer Preferences survey says.
For consumers, buying directly offers the assurance of product authenticity and the confidence that purchases are backed by a brand’s customer service, reducing anxiety over risks such as shipping, exchange and refund issues. For retailers, catering to this consumer preference provides the opportunity to build relationships directly with customers, promoting consumer loyalty and repeat marketing and sales opportunities.
Streamlining Inventory Management
Another advantage for brands turning to a direct-to-consumer model is the ability to simplify inventory management. Brands that sell directly to consumers can scale their inventory to actual sales volume, explains Sufi Khan Salaiman, vice president of e-commerce at surveillance systems provider Lorex Technology.
Lorex originally moved into DTC e-commerce sales in order to unload excess inventory that had built up through returns, Salaiman says. As Lorex’s e-commerce sales began to blossom, the company realized that an online direct-to-consumer model could help reduce overstock problems by keeping inventory scaled to demand.
Increasing Profit Margins
Lorex’s e-commerce move brought in 50 percent profit margins on its first million sales and set the company on a path to earn nine digits this year, illustrating another motive for adopting direct-to-consumer sales model. DTC sales offer brands higher profit margins than traditional sales models.
One way direct-to-consumer sales boosts profit margins is by lowering expenses. By selling more products directly to consumers and less through wholesale and retail channels, companies can reduce the expenses of paying third parties. Additionally, this gives companies the opportunity to develop their own distribution channels and customer relationships, laying a foundation for repeat business that increases revenue. The profitability of the direct-to-consumer strategy is illustrated by the success the technology industry has enjoyed in DTC sales. Online consumer technology sales increased 19 percent in the first three quarters of 2017, propelled by a 34 percent increase in direct-to-consumer sales, according to a report by the NPD Group.
Increased customer satisfaction, more efficient inventory management, and higher profit margins are three reasons the direct-to-consumer model is attracting retailers. As more companies see the benefits of direct-to-consumer sales, the DTC model will increasingly reshape the retail industry, promoting customer loyalty, smoother operations and greater sales success.
As a business owner, you understand the importance of keeping your valued customers happy; after all, a happy customer usually means a repeat customer.
Thus, the last thing you want is to inadvertently drop the ball and/or anger a valued customer and have them decide to shop elsewhere due to a foul up by one of your support agents or glitchy systems.
In order to maintain customer satisfaction and improve the overall brand experience, it’s important to be acutely aware of some of today’s top customer service complaints — and what steps you, as a business owner or manager, can take to prevent them from happening within the confines of your own business.
1. Rude or Indifferent Customer Service Reps
Unfortunately, you might have first-hand experience with this one. Case in point: You call a company to place an order and the customer service rep on the other end of the line is acting like they cannot wait to finish the call or is downright rude. To prevent this from happening at your company, it’s crucial to understand how words can fuel the fire of a customer’s anger.
For example, saying “it’s not our fault” is never acceptable under any circumstances, even if it happens to be true. Furthermore, let’s say a customer calls your live support line to complain about why their package was left in the rain by a delivery driver. Instead of saying you cannot control the actions of each of your drivers, empathize with the customer, apologize for what has transpired, and offer to send them a replacement.
2. Calling the Wrong Number
Just as your time is valuable, so is that of your customers. In that vein, know as a customer that it can be extremely frustrating to call a live support line and wait on hold for several minutes — only to find out you dialed the wrong number and must call a different one or were transferred to the wrong department altogether.
Want your customers to avoid this conundrum? One surefire way is to display a list of various departments and their contact information on your website, order invoices and/or social media pages. In fact, you may want to emulate the playbook of 800-numbers, a website that maintains a collection of toll-free numbers for many of today’s biggest companies. Search for specific companies or simply browse by category to find the right company department for which you’ve been searching.
Now, if you’re considering such a resource, make sure it’s easy for your customers to find the correct phone number without any sort of confusion.
3. Long Wait Times
Dealing with seemingly endless wait times is another common customer complaint — and it’s likely one you’ve experienced firsthand many times over. Of course, you want to make customers’ overall brand experience a positive one, so placing them on hold for upwards of 15 minutes or longer is not okay.
After recently surveying more than 1,500 U.S. consumers about acceptable wait times, Arise Virtual Solutions found that nearly two-thirds of all participants said they’re only willing to wait two minutes or less before hanging up, while 13 percent said they wouldn’t be accepting of waiting on hold in the first place.
Indeed, these results underscore the need for investing in a team or reliable and efficient customer service reps, who are able to resolve consumer issues in an efficient, thoughtful and pleasant manner.
Remember, Happy Customers are Loyal Customers
Because consumers are the lifeblood of your business, it’s certainly worth knowing and understanding what typically frustrates them while interacting with live support agents — and what steps you can take to resolve or prevent these issues altogether. By hiring and entrusting a friendly, helpful and empathetic customer support team, along with maintaining policies that prevent long wait times, you’re certain to bring smiles to your customers’ faces and see them return again and again.
Public relations disasters are many companies’ worst nightmares.
Whether it’s a common mistake that leads to a temporary bad reputation or a bigger problem that affects the future of your business, negative PR can be hard to recover from.
PR problems not only taints your brand name and personality, but can also eliminate customer loyalty and significantly decrease your profits and financial backing. And according to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Report, over half of businesses are forced to stop operations for these exact reason. So what can you do to best address a PR disaster? Stay prepared by knowing all the best possible solutions:
Make a Joke Out of It
Beware that this answer is only appropriate if the reason for your company’s backlash is lighthearted and doesn’t have a serious affect on your customers. So make sure you thoroughly evaluate the problem before you decide to follow the path of making a joke out of the situation to draw consumers back in. If your PR disaster isn’t that serious, then this is actually probably the way to address, as it makes it seem like less of a big deal.
For example, when Reese’s released its Christmas tree chocolate in 2015, it received huge backlash as the shape of the chocolates looked like giant blobs rather than festive trees. Instead of addressing the issue as a serious event, Reese’s decided to create a campaign surrounding the idea of ‘tree shaming’ and #AllTreesAreBeautiful, which ended up gaining traction on social media and turned the disaster into a funny concept for fans to engage with.
Admit Quickly And Redeem
When it comes to big PR disasters such as the company lying, breaching policies and putting customers at risk, then timely admittance is vital to the reputation of your brand.
Back in 1994, Texaco was sued by former employees on the grounds of racial discrimination, and the allegations were confirmed after the release of recordings that proved discriminatory behavior. However, Texaco was able to bounce back in large because of its quick and honest approach — the CEO made a public apology, executives traveled to every location to apologize to employees, and the company hired an African-American owned advertising agency to formulate its next ad campaign. By taking this approach, companies have the opportunity to still show consumers that they have good intentions and genuinely care about their relationship with their audience, hopefully turning a negative situation into positive growth.
Educate Your Audience
In the case that your PR disaster is a result of false allegations and untrue statements, then educating your audience is vital to maintaining your reputation. When strategizing your message, ensure that the education clearly addresses the problem communicated in the disaster, and is easily accessible to your whole consumer base.
After being accused of being a pyramid scheme, Amway cleverly put together an engaging blog post that not only explicitly addressed the statement, but also provided a lot of background information about the company and how it works. By including employees’ testimonials and conducting ample research, the company was able to distribute this information online and successfully communicate the truth behind their company structure.
PR disasters are always trouble for any brand that runs into them. However, if proper preparation is done and the issue is addressed appropriately then it is definitely possible to turn a negative PR issue into a positive statement about your company.
Cloud contact center solutions are becoming the new standard for customer service.
The cloud-based contact center market is growing at an explosive compound annual growth rate of 23.6 percent, on track to increase from $5.43 billion in 2016 to $15.67 billion by 2020, Markets and Markets projects. Demand for managed services that allow organizations to outsource their operations is driving this growth, especially in the consumer goods and retail industry.
If your organization is considering whether or not to switch to a cloud contact center, you might be wondering how contact centers differ from traditional call centers and whether or not the difference is worth it. Here’s a look at how contact centers compare to call centers and why many companies are making the switch.
Cloud-Based vs. Office-Based or VoIP-Based
The difference between a traditional call center and a contact center is analogous to the difference between a traditional on-premise IT data center and a cloud-based IT infrastructure service. A traditional call center is usually based in an office with a public switched telephone network, or increasingly, a VoIP phone network. A cloud contact center is hosted virtually on a cloud server which is usually based remotely, or less frequently, can be based on-premises on a private cloud.
One major advantage being cloud-based represents for businesses is the ability to run customer service operations from any location. This gives companies more flexibility to hire home-based workers or to outsource their customer service operations to a specialty service. This can in turn help companies cut payroll costs as well as office rent and equipment expenses.
Omnichannel vs. Single Channel
Another difference between call centers and cloud contact centers is the number of customer service channels they handle. Call centers, as the name indicates, specialize only in voice communications channels. Contact centers, in contrast, are omnichannel, integrating the capability of handling voice call tickets with tickets originating from email, web contact forms, instant messenger services, text chat and video chat.
Cloud contact centers’ omnichannel capability extends customers more options for choosing their preferred communication channel. It also provides representatives with a unified interface for viewing all information associated with a particular customer or ticket regardless of its channel of origin. This allows tickets to be passed smoothly from one channel or representative to another without the need to repeat information the customer has previously given, which can speed up resolution time and boost customer satisfaction.
Cloud contact centers can also integrate analytics data from all service channels. This provides companies with a more complete view of their customer service performance. It also makes it easier to customize service for individual customers, which can improve sales as well as customer service.
All-Purpose vs. Inbound or Outbound
A third difference between call centers and cloud contact centers is their function. Call centers typically specialize in either inbound or outbound calls. Cloud contact centers can support agents who handle both inbound and outbound communications.
Being able to field both inbound and outbound communications makes cloud contact centers more versatile than call centers. You can handle all types of communications from a single contact center, including purchase orders, order status inquiries, post-purchase satisfaction surveys and technical support.
In summary, cloud contact centers are cloud-based, while call centers are office-based or voice-based; contact centers are omnichannel, while call centers are voice-only; and contact centers are all-purpose, while call centers are either inbound or outbound. Together these advantages are making cloud-based contact centers the compelling choice for a growing majority of companies.
Still looking to make some resolutions for 2018? Don’t forget to make a few for your small business, too. Much like in your personal life, you can take a number of proactive steps this year to positively impact your business.
Plus, what business couldn’t benefit from generating more revenue or fostering better customer relationships? Here are four New Year’s resolutions every small-business owner should consider striving for this year.
1. Improve Your Customer Experience
As a business owner, it’s easy to focus your energies in looking for ways to improve upon your products and services. But, in reality, creating a solid brand experience is where you can really differentiate yourself from the competition — in a positive or negative way.
In fact, more than half of all U.S. consumers will shell out more money to a particular company if they know they’re guaranteed to receive a positive brand experience. Meantime, 78 percent of consumers have, at some point, decided against making a purchase with a company due to a poor customer service experience.
If you don’t already offer a number of different avenues for customers to reach your business in real time, then it’s high time you make that a top priority in 2018. Indeed, customers’ ability to reach company reps via phone, email, live chat and social media can help to better expedite and improve their overall support experience.
Cloud-based systems, like Aspect Via or Aspect CXP Pro, are especially worthwhile tools for businesses due to their scalability and ease of use. Moreover, investing in some form of cloud call center software can accommodate sudden spikes in customer support traffic, allowing your support agents to better prioritize and answer these requests.
2. Manage Your Cash Flow More Effectively
In business and in life, poor financial discipline ultimately spells failure. That’s why you’ll definitely want to institute some solid cash flow practices in 2018 to ensure your doors stay open for the long term.
In particular, 82 percent of small businesses fail due to owners having a poor understanding of economics. Ultimately, the first step toward managing better cash flow is to develop realistic projections.
Looking for ways to better calculate your business cash flow? Score.org and applications like Google Docs offer useful information, templates, tips and resources for small businesses. Experts also suggest building up your cash reserve and creating a backup plan should any unforeseen events arise.
3. Heighten Your Digital Footprint
While your small business should already have an online presence, there are numerous ways to expand your digital footprint. In particular, with users spending nearly 70 percent of their time on a smartphone, you’ll want to make sure your website offers a responsive design for mobile devices and tablets. More importantly, your business will appear higher in Google search results with this extra layer of functionality.
Additionally, if you don’t already have a social media presence, now is the time to develop one. Choose one or two platforms like Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn that are appropriate for your industry and where your customers or clients spend a majority of their time. Moreover, consider improving upon your digital marketing efforts by using tools like Google Analytics and Traackr, which will help you understand the effectiveness of your current strategy.
4. Get Involved in Your Community
Resolving to become more community-conscious can pay dividends in more ways than one. Beyond uplifting local nonprofits and putting a smile on people’s faces, being involved in ongoing philanthropic ventures is something that’s top of mind for many of today’s job seekers
Moreover, 80 percent of all U.S. consumers consider social responsibility when deciding which businesses to patronize. Look for ways your business can benefit the community by partnering with one or several nonprofits. Indeed, community involvement has the added benefit of increasing employee fulfillment, resulting in higher productivity and retention rates.
Making Positive Changes
There’s more to business than merely generating higher revenue streams. This year, in addition to promising to hit the gym or staying in touch with your childhood friends, resolve to make some positive changes for your small business. Beyond lining your pocketbook, look for new and innovative ways to improve the customer experience, create a bigger digital footprint, and get more involved in your community. Ultimately, your employees and customers will thank you for it.
When you think about attracting and retaining new customers to your business, you might focus on the importance of having a team of friendly and capable employees devoted to making them feel welcome and appreciated. Having great products and services doesn’t hurt, either.
But while these are definitely smart goals to have as a business owner, there’s yet another key way to improve customers’ overall brand experience: cybersecurity. After all, because you hold the proverbial keys to your customers’ data and personal information, it’s ultimately your responsibility as a business owner to protect it.
With this in mind, here are several ways your company can focus on military-grade cybersecurity in order to maintain and improve customers’ brand loyalty.
It Helps to Build Trust
As The Wall Street Journal notes, building and maintaining customers’ trust is crucial. One way business owners can achieve this is by letting their valued customers know they take protecting their valuable information seriously. For example, don’t be shy about letting your customers know how you safeguard their information behind the scenes, as well as the steps you take to prevent cyber threats like ransomware and malware.
To do this, consider investing in ransomware protection. For example, Mozy offers solutions that provide companies with a solid line of defense against disruptions from ransomware and malware. Additionally, Mozy maintains your company’s and customers’ proprietary data for up to one year, allowing you to restore these files from any point in time should you fall victim to a cybersecurity attack.
As another layer of protection, post signs inside your business and on your website announcing you have ransomware protection in place. Ultimately, this should reassure customers — and scare off would-be cyberthieves — that you value their patronage and are doing everything in your power to earn and maintain their trust.
Cybersecurity Improves Brand Loyalty
Having solid cybersecurity plans and programs in place can do a lot more than keep your customers’ data secure; it can boost brand loyalty. According to The Atlantic, customers appreciate when companies commit to data protection and have instituted proper safeguards.
Moreover, business owners who make it a point to prioritize cybersecurity — and keep customers or clients apprised of these safeguards — will be viewed as trusted leaders. Having a reputation that puts customers first is huge, as customers tend to put a lot of stock in companies that focus on their needs and desires — and are more likely to shop or work with a business that adopts these values.
Clients Expect It
While instituting cybersecurity measures may make for happier customers, the expectation is still there. According to the Harvard Business Review, the vast majority of consumers have high expectations that their financial institution has put measures in place to keep their personal and financial information safe.
Additionally, shoppers tend to be pretty savvy when it comes to monitoring their bank statements and credit card balances. As such, they know security measures are available in the marketplace, and they want to believe the businesses they frequent most employ these protections, Ultimately, understanding customers expect you to have some sort of cybersecurity measures in place will go a long way in keeping them happy and maintaining their patronage.
Even though many aspects of business and professional life have changed with the advent of new technologies, networking remains one of the most important elements of building and advancing a business.
Networking for business owners is slightly different than for employed professionals, but many of the same concepts still apply. Here are four of the top tips in networking for newer business owners looking to build their brands.
Join Local Business Groups
If you’re in a city or town of any size, chances are there are associations of local business owners. These groups will meet to share experience, discuss issues of importance to the local economy and, most importantly, allow participants to network with one another. Becoming active in such local business groups gives you the chance to learn from other business owners and to build connections that will benefit you as your business grows.
Many business owners miss out on attending professional conferences. These events are often thought of as being more for professionals who work for larger companies. The truth, however, is that they are still great networking events for business owners. Not only will you meet other people in your field and learn from informative speakers, but you will also have the chance to scout and connect with potential future employees.
Visit Other Businesses
One of the more straightforward ways of networking with other business owners is to visit and patronize their businesses. Going in and introducing yourself to a fellow business owner may seem overly simple, but it’s actually one of the best ways to make a business connection. When trying this approach, always be sure to offer the other business owner an open invitation to come into your business as well.
Making a good impression is essential when conducting business visits of this nature. Be sure to dress well, be polite, and always be on time. One way to help yourself out with this is to secure reliable transportation. If you’re travelling far you may even consider chartering a flight with a company like Silverhawk Aviation or someone similar to avoid any potential delays.
Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Active
Just like employed professionals, business owners should be using the social media networking site LinkedIn heavily. Ideally, both you and your business should have proprietary LinkedIn pages. You should keep both active and use them to build your network through content and connections. This gives you the chance not only to meet new people in your field, but also to do some brand building and marketing in the process.
If you are a newer business owner, building your network is one of the best things you can do to promote growth and ensure your success. Start connecting with other business owners using these simple tips, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a sustainable and successful company.
Rapidly increasing threats, both in person and online, are driving a demand for business security systems, according to the latest report by Markets and Markets. The global security solutions market, valued at $206.69 billion in 2016, will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 10.16 percent to reach $372.90 billion by 2022, the report projects. Commercial solutions hold the largest share of this market, with companies investing significant amounts in order to secure their facilities and workers from physical and cyber threats. Fortunately, security systems are investments that generate benefits which cover their own costs. Here are five ways that security systems pay for themselves.
First and foremost, security systems pay for themselves by protecting businesses from property damage and losses incurred by burglary. Over eight percent of small businesses suffered burglary or theft in 2016, a survey of 1,000 small business owners by Insureon found. The average loss per incident was $8,000. Those numbers mean that over the course of 11 years, your business has a virtual certainty of losing $8,000 to theft unless you take preventive measures. Installing video surveillance cameras can help protect you from this risk, effectively serving as an insurance policy. When would-be burglars see that you have security cameras that can identify them, they are more likely to move on to an easier target.
Reducing Inventory Shrinkage
Security systems can also help prevent loss incurred due to inventory theft by shoplifters and employees. Inventory shrinkage cost U.S. retailers $45.2 billion in 2015, growing $1.2 billion from the previous year to equal 1.38 percent of sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Nearly half of retailers experienced increase of loss from shrinkage, suffering an average loss of $377 per incident, up $60 from the previous year. By helping reduce or eliminate this unnecessary loss, security systems help employers retain more of the revenue they generate from sales and maintain a higher profit margin.
Another way security systems pay for themselves is by promoting worker productivity. One in five employers estimate that workers are productive less than 5 hours per day, with cell phones, texting, internet surfing and social media ranking among the top suspects for non-productive activity, a CareerBuilder survey found. Security systems can help discourage non-productive activity by enabling you to monitor employee attendance and work habits and enforce workplace policies. Recognizing this, 68 percent of employers are now seeing security cameras as a means of improving operational efficiency, with 44 percent of these citing managing productivity as an intended application, according to an Eagle Eye Networks report.
Preventing Workplace Injuries
Thirty percent of employers using security systems for operational purposes are also using them to prevent workplace injuries, Eagle Eye Networks also found. Workplace injury compensation costs can be crippling, costing employers $1 billion a week, according to OSHA. The average cost of an employee fracture can include $50,000 in direct expenses and another $55,000 in indirect expenses. Security systems can help you avoid these enormous expenses by ensuring that workplace safety regulations are followed. Security footage can also document your compliance with safety regulations should you ever need to defend yourself against a claim in court.
Generating Marketing and Sales Data
Security cameras can help you analyze customer behavior and patterns by collecting information about which aisles customers spend the most time in, which products they handle and what patterns they use to navigate through stores. This can help you make decisions about where to place products for optimal sales promotion. Accenture research has found that stores can achieve a 5 percent increase in sales through strategic use of security cameras in conjunction with analytics tools to study customer behavior.
In today’s world, more and more small business owners are realizing that they need to develop substantive, savvy online marketing strategies.
In addition to optimizing conversion rates, taking this course of action can make the brand more influential and cutting edge. Below you’ll find just five of many strategies you can implement to make your web-based efforts sophisticated and successful:
Pay-per-click advertising is a form of internet marketing through which an advertiser will pay a specific amount every time a site visitor clicks one of their advertisements. In essence, the benefits of PPC marketing are that it allows the advertiser to buy visits to her or his website as opposed to trying to generate site visits in a more organic manner. The result is an increase in traffic to the site, which helps them rank higher, generating more organic traffic on its own.
If you’re serious about optimizing your company’s online presence, be sure to tap into the power of blogging. This mode of digital advertising is effective for many reasons, and one of them is that blogging enables business owners to complete key brand-building processes in a more engaging, casual manner than some other marketing techniques will allow. For example, blogging provides the brand owner with a forum through which to create Q & A blog posts through which members of the target audience can ask specific questions and receive answers directly from the business representative.
Another web-based strategy that the small business owner can use to generate growth in the internet sector is the use of Twitter polls. This technique is effective because it enables you to ask your audience specific, brand-related questions and receive answers directly from them through their response to the poll you create.
As noted in Social Media Examiner, there are many benefits to this strategy. One is that it functions as a form of research through which you can gauge the target market’s opinion about your brand. Another benefit of Twitter polls is that results can be seen in real time, thereby helping you attain instant insights that can be used to quickly update your mode of advertising, method of interfacing with clients, product quality, etc.
Responsive Web Design
In a wired world such as ours, millions of people across the globe are using smart phones to access the internet. As such, you want your website to be cross compatible. The term “cross compatible” references a website that people can easily access and move through no matter which device they are using to do so.
Responsive web design services are geared towards making sites cross compatible, and these efforts are important because they can make the difference between average and exceptional conversion rates. Note that if a smart phone user finds it difficult to move through your product pages, they will oftentimes abandon your website before making a purchase!
Research indicates that online audiences are more likely to watch a video than read an article. Since this is the case, small business owners should jump on the video production bandwagon right now. Doing so will empower them to create interactive, innovative forms of web media that more members of the target market are likely to view. Hundreds and hundreds of digital marketing firms now offer customized, cutting edge video production services that will empower business owners to interface with their unique audiences in a dynamic, brand-building way!
If you’re trying to optimize your business’s presence and prestige in the online realm, note that this article provides you with multiple techniques that you can use to make it happen. Start using these web-based advertising tricks now so your organization can start to thrive in the ecommerce sector!
Before ecommerce became a thing, there was only one type of common consumer: shoppers who would go into brick-and-mortar stores to buy what they needed.
With the popularity and proliferation of online stores, two new types of shoppers have emerged: webroomers and showroomers. In a nutshell, webroomers are known for doing their homework online by checking out the things they want on websites before buying them in a regular store. Showroomers, on the other hand, will browse in brick-and-mortar shops and then buy the items on the internet.
Today’s online business owners are interested in finding ways to court both of these shoppers and entice them to make their purchases online. Here are five to consider:
Offer a mobile-friendly website
You may have a great selection and terrific prices, but if shoppers need a magnifying glass to see your product images and descriptions, you’re not going to win over consumers who are determined to buy things in person. That’s why it’s imperative to offer a user-friendly site that is easy to see on a mobile device. If you sell on multiple sites or through retailers, be sure their product copy is clear and up-to-date as well.
Match online prices with in-store prices
As Conversion Conference notes, ensuring that there is equality between brick-and-mortar and online prices will help drive sales. If you can, offer free shipping whenever possible and bonuses for shopping on the site, like a free product with every purchase over a certain amount. If you’re a brand selling at multiple retailers, you may not have control over this.
Make the online shopping experience as seamless as you can
To tempt webroomers to make their purchase, spend some time making your site as eye-catching as possible. Eliminate clutter, including numerous videos, texts in different colors, and pop-up ads, and clearly display what’s important, like your where to buy. If your webrooming customer feels like she can easily go to one of your retailers’ sites to purchase, she might do so.
Harness the power of social media
A great way to increase your online presence is to promote your online shop through social media sites like Instagram. As IQMetrix notes, Instagram is an especially useful tool that allows you to showcase your items with effective photos. For example, if you sell clothing, instead of posting shots of your different t-shirts and pants, use Instagram to show your amazingly comfortable and stylish clothing “in action” on everyday people going through their day. These lifestyle image photos will illustrate to webroomers how great your items fit and give them ideas on how to incorporate them into their wardrobe. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can also introduce potential shoppers to not only your products, but also your people; you can post funny anecdotes about yourself and cute pictures of your pets. This will help take away some of the anonymity that online businesses may have, and allow shoppers to feel like they really “know” you and your staff.
Consider an all-in-one content management system
If you’re responsible for updating all your product copy on your retailers’ websites, you know it can be a harrowing experience. To make this process as easy as possible and keep your product pages looking great all across the web, consider using an all-in-one ecommerce content management system like Content Analytics. This easy-to-use software allows brands to update all their retailers from a single platform. It can even provide analytics that are useful in determining what is working and what needs to be updated, revised or optimized.