There are so many challenges facing retailers today and we want to support you so you can not only navigate the new landscape, but also grow, be profitable and create the business you imagined when you first started. To help, Nancy Georges ‘the Retail Miss Fix-It’ will be answering your questions every fortnight, beginning with today’s conundrum: Where do I start in digital?
So, where do you start in digital? There certainly are a lot of options that all have a purpose. The most important thing you have to remember in retail today (in fact any business) is that it is all about the customer. We exist because of the customer and we need to be everywhere they are.
There are foundation tools that need to be laid in a certain order, which I will outline below.
This is as important as your actual bricks and mortar store―this is your store in the digital landscape.
You need to place as much work and effort into your website as you do your actual store. A Facebook page, in fact any social media page, is not a website substitute.
Think of your website as the digital space you own as opposed to the social media sites you ‘rent’ from a landlord who can bump you out or switch the lights off at any time without notice.
Here are a few tips:
You have to have an online store
Your website is no longer an info page about you and your shop.
There are so many great ecommerce options, like Shopify, that make selling online easy, so there are no excuses.
Your website should have a good online store plus a blog
The store sells the product.
The blog tells the story, provides info, and takes the place of the ‘salesperson’.
Bring the viewer into your store
You have a store with constant daily activity―show this online.
A large majority of your online content should come from your store.
The store and site should always match.
Make sure your online store features all the product customers can find in your physical store
Too many online stores have only a fraction of the products seen in store.
If customers see something in store, hop on your site and don’t find it, they will find it somewhere else. They won’t chase you up for your sale―they expect you to do the work not them.
Tell the product story
Fill out the description section in your online store for each product. This is your sales conversation―the customer will make a purchase decision based on what you tell them here.
Tell a bigger product story in your blog with pictures, videos and words.
Ask your suppliers for pictures, video and info.
Have your phone number and address in the header on every page
If you are an online-only retailer then add a link to the store email address.
Remember, most customers are on mobile devices and 50 per cent of them are using these devices to find you within 5km of your location, so let them find you and your contact information easily―they won’t click multiple times to find it.
The homepage is your front window
Update your homepage regularly.
Make it look nice and tidy.
It should tell the story of your store at a glance.
Regularly check the links are working.
Make things easy for your customers
Let customers sign up to email easily―don’t make them have to search, because they won’t and you will lose the opportunity.
Let customers connect with your social media pages easily―have the logos clearly on every page.
Make it easy for your customers to share your site and products on social media―there are a lot of great plugins and tools available.
Remember: customers just want to click and easily connect
Feature your customers on your site―they are more likely to share if they are part of the story/content
Pictures of them and the product they purchased.
Pictures of them in your store.
Keep your ‘About Me’ brief and interesting
Don’t indulge here.
An email from your customer should be treated with the same urgency as a customer walking into your store or calling you.
Customers will chose how they want to connect with you, so make sure you continue with the mode they chose. If they email you don’t ask them to come in, continue the conversation via email and/or over the phone.
Ensure your email signature has all of your contact info:
- Phone number
- Social media sites
Newsletters are you touching base and keeping your customer informed. They don’t need to be long and wordy.
Create a plan/strategy that covers product and content by month.
Keep your communication interesting and use pictures that click through to more info. Don’t sell in every newsletter―it’s all about connecting and informing your customer to build yourself as an authority―then they will buy from you.
Mailchimp is a great place to start and free up to a certain number of database members.
4 Social media
Once you have a sound foundation with a fab store and great website, then you are ready to get social.
This is not an option but a necessity and must be done with a strategy, because every business doesn’t need: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Polyvore, Snapchat, Periscope…We will discuss this next time.
Most of all, don’t panic and be overwhelmed, this is just a new skill you need to learn to be a modern day business owner.
Nancy Georges is The Retail Miss Fix-it, retail strategist & consultant with over 25 years experience.