In Q4 of 2016, e-commerce sales accounted for less than 9% of all retail sales. Surprised? Most “online shopping” is actually online researching; 81% of consumers do research online before making a purchasing decision. This means shoppers want to research online and then come into your store to see and purchase the product. Your website is a pathway to your brick and mortar store.
In other words, the greater goal of your website is not to drive online sales, but rather to increase overall revenue for your business by giving users a way to find and connect with you online. If you base your website’s value solely on online sales, your perceived ROI of your website will be completely inaccurate.
Also important to note is the increase in local search. Customers are now taking advantage of Google’s algorithm improvements that provide great results for searches including the words “near me”. Be a part of this. Customers want to shop with you, just make sure they can find you and enjoy shopping on your website. Give customers the multichannel shopping experience they want with these expert tips.
#1 Keep Inventory Accurate
Should you really put all of your inventory online? Absolutely. If it’s not on your website, customers won’t know if you have it. Source. The inventory shown on your in-store POS should sync with your online inventory. This lets customers know your products are in-stock right now. They can come pick it up right away without paying for shipping or waiting for delivery. Give customers a great shopping experience they can tell their friends about.
#2 Get Your Products on Google
Once your inventory is on your website, how do you get it in front of shoppers searching on Google? Google bases its rankings on many factors, a great deal of which are related to the content of a website. By creating descriptive product titles (include the manufacturer, model information, etc) and unique descriptions for each of your products (not just copied from the manufacturer or another website), you’ll attract the attention you want from Google (and other search engines). Also, include great photos of your product. Because many shoppers search Google for a product + a city or town, your contact information (especially your shop’s address) needs to be easy for shoppers and Google to find. If Google can pull the pieces of information from your website, your website will be ranked as relevant for local shoppers.
#3 Bring Customers Convenience
Do you offer services that will bring customers into the store? Be sure to feature rentals, repairs, rent to own, music lessons, events and other services you offer on your site. Convenience is key; give customers the option to schedule and pay online, which will make coming into your store a seamless experience. Give them a great online user experience, and they’ll give you their customer loyalty.
#4 Create an Engaging Website
Connect with your customers and community by bringing your brick and mortar experience to your website. Bring your website to life with photos, videos, and other unique content. Keep the community involved with an event calendar that shows customers what they can experience with your store. By showing your passion for your business on your website, you’ll set yourself apart as a store that cares about its customers.
#5 Be Mobile-Friendly
During 2015, roughly 56% of traffic to the leading consumer websites in the US was on Mobile devices. Additionally, 76% of consumers who conduct a local search on their phones visit the store within a day. Mobile-friendly websites rank higher in Google search results. Mobile performance matters. A lot.
#6 Stay Connected
In 2014, email marketing was the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. Collect email addresses online or at the register. Send customers exclusive offers such as printable or scannable coupons they can bring to your store. Advertise sales, new products, upcoming events, etc. Make your customers loyal to you by being loyal in giving them great exclusive offers.
Connecting to Customers Online Pays Off
Retailers who follow these tips and use their website as a tool to connect with customers online see an average growth of 15-50%*. Rain Retail helps these retailers meet their goals.
* Rain Retail Study of 1500 Businesses, 2015
Note: This article was originally published in Music, Inc