Your Online Shop - Part 1
18 June 2019
Lately we have seen the closure of many big brand retail stores, and the culling of their branches. We also often see the closure of many small business. While there are many reasons why a business will succeed, there are equally as many reasons these days on why it can fail.
A lot of the blame lays on:
- having no website
- having a website that is not user-friendly
- having a website that isn’t mobile-friendly
- having a website that is inaccessible
- not engaging your visitors to your website
- ineffective use of social media marketing
- not being found
- lack of interaction with your visitors
- not converting visits to sales
A lot of businesses also don’t see the need for a website, and will often argue about a websites effectiveness. But there is a definite advantage to having a website, especially if you are in the retail trade.
Advantage of Online over Offline
- Product Descriptions - On most product pages you can find dimensions, a description, the material type, weight, and all kinds of information. All of this information is also used to optimize your website with search engines, making it easier for visitors to find you.
- Pricing - Customers don't have to chase round to find the right pricing of a product. It is displayed clearly. Also stores run online discount vouchers that customers can use to get their products cheaper.
- Product Review - Most eCommerce software has a product review section. Businesses invite customers to review their product. Customers talk about their experience with the product, and the pros & cons. Customers share views on how to care for the product, any defects it may have, or how easily spare parts or servicing is available. New customers then get a good rounded picture of your product.
- Product Display - The downside is that customers have to trust product descriptions and photos, and colours change on every monitor & screen, and bad lighting can give wrong colours. The upside is that customers get to see models modelling the garment they chose, videos of people using your product, or photos of your product being used in different situations. Good photography or videography is always important on your website or social media, and there are many affordable professionals available to do it for you.
- Wish Lists/Favourites - Most eCommerce software have wish lists, where you click on a heart or a favourite link to add the product to their wishlist. Customers can then come back later & buy the product. Sometimes customers will come back several times before deciding on whether to buy your product or not. Many wish lists can be shared, to make present buying easier.
- Home Delivery/International Shipping - Aside from the convenience of door to door delivery, often clients will want the product sent to someone else as a gift & that can include local or overseas. Remote customers are also not paying for fuel to travel long distances for your product. There are all kinds of benefits to having products delivered.
Brick &/or Click
Brick & Click is when a company operates both an online store (the clicks) and an offline store (the bricks) and integrates the two into a single retail strategy. Technology is reducing the gap between ‘brick & click’. At the recent European Retail Expo 2018 they showcased how ‘brick & mortar’ stores can now have the technology in the shop that will give it many of the capabilities of an online store. Equipment that can scan products & give the customer the description of the product on a screen, what they have in stock, dimensions, and pretty much all of the information you can get from a product page online.
Until more technology is available, and becomes more affordable, the best idea is to have both brick & click. Let them compliment each other. Instore run online promotions. Online run in store promotions. Give customers a chance to do further research on the product on your website, instead of someone else's. Allow customers to compare your product online and read reviews on your website, instead of losing them to a competitor with the same product on another website.
So instead of brick or click.... brick & click!
Stay tuned for our next instalment .... "Building Your Shop".