To wrap up or blog series on utilizing the values of brick and mortar retail in your online store, we are going to cover that basics of marketing your site the same way you would if you owned a storefront. Many people assume that they can simply purchase a website, get it online and then the customer will just flock there and start buying. These assumptions can lead people to failure when they do not properly market their sites or put time and money into hiring professionals to do so.
To build a successful website, marketing should be divided into two main groups. There is user-specific marketing to customers, which includes social media, e-mail marketing and original content on your site. This is important because it will build your credibility within the eyes of your customers and ensure return shopping. Marketing this way is building the image you will portray to your customers and potential shoppers. User-specific marketing has the main goal of being interactive and informative for your customers. It should include any information pages that a customer would use on your site, video clips, product reviews and any other unique content that makes the user experience on your site easier.
Then, there is the SEO/PPC marketing aspect. This marketing is in place to boost your search engine results, whether they are organic or paid. User-specific marketing is the trend in the industry right now and search engines seem to favor original content, however, to properly market your website your strategy needs to encompass both of these tactics. You want to develop a strong brand with your customers but you also need to be doing SEO and PPC marketing to reach out to new clients.
Next in our series we will go over the ways in which you can merchandise your online store to suit the needs of your customers and get their return business. Generally, retail stores change their visual merchandising once a month – sometimes more if there are specific promotions that they need to do a floor change for. This is helpful advice to online retailers, as your online store should also be re-merchandised on a regular basis.
Think of your brick and mortar store or the last time you visited a retail store. The products in the store are going to be organized and displayed in a manner that provokes the customer to shop and to buy. If it was a pet store, for example, there would be different areas for dogs and cats and fish set up so that customers would know to go to a specific part of the store to find what they are looking for. Your ecommerce site should also accomplish this by categorizing and organizing your products in a way that makes sense to you and your customers. You wouldn’t want someone to click on a link for dogs and end up with aquariums and hamster food.
Aside from organizing your products in a shopable manner, you’re going to want to update this merchandising on a regular basis. You don’t have to change your entire product arrangement every month, but you should be conscious of your featured products and specials. These things need to be updated so that customers get a sense of new and exciting offers and items when they visit your site. If you can keep a customer engaged when they come to your store, you can get their return business instead of a one-time shopper.
To continue with our current series on translating the values that make brick and mortar stores successful to the online arena, today we’re going to cover bounce-backs and ways to market to the customers who have already shopped with you.
In the retail world, there are several ways that stores market to their existing client base. One trick that shops use frequently is the bounce-back. This is a coupon or flier inserted right into your shopping bag after you’ve made a purchase. A bounce-back can also be a coupon or promotion printed at the bottom of a receipt that a customer receives after purchasing in the store.
The idea of a bounce-back is to get the customer to come back in a timely fashion and shop again. It can be a reminder of a holiday coming up or a promotional offer – either way, it should compel the consumer to spend more at your site.
You can create this same effect through your e-commerce site even though it is not a face-to-face transaction with the consumer. One way to do this is to send an email newsletter to all of the clients who purchased on your site within the last month. This way, you are engaging those recent customers and building a strong brand identity. If you are shipping the product and not a warehouse, you can also include a coupon in the box so that when the package arrives, the customer has incentive to shop again.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our series so far on utilizing tools from retail storefronts and bringing them to an online store. Halfway through our series, we want to direct you to two important parts of your site that should be well-written and very clear to your customers – your return policy and shipping policy.
The return policy is very important on a website because there is no salesperson present in your checkout process to reassure your customers about their purchases. If they can easily access and understand your return policy, it will be easier for them to purchase on-the-fence items knowing what the consequences will be if the item doesn’t work out.
The return policy should also enable you to protect yourself from any angry customers. It gives you the opportunity to build a policy that will allow you to reject unwelcomed returns. One major problem in the retail world is dealing with customers who abuse the system and expect to get their products at a discount or threaten to return them. By clearly posting your return policy, you will hopefully deter any of these falsified returns and have written documentation to protect yourself in a legal setting, should one arise.
It is also important to post your shipping policy for some of the same reasons. The shipping policy can help reassure customers who are on the edge about ordering from your website. If the customer better understands the order process and feels more comfortable with it, they are much more likely to impart with personal information through your ecommerce site.
Your shipping policy will also provide clear boundaries for yourself and you customers. Policies are in place to protect you and to protect the consumer, should there be a mishap with one of your orders. If you post your shipping policies effectively, you can help protect yourself from chargeback fraud. Part of your shipping policy should state what name will appear on a credit card statement when the customer purchases with you. This is another good measure to take in order to prevent and protect against chargebacks.