Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
CAll Us: 1-877-240-0580 Submit Ticket   Login

10 Reasons to have a Website!

By 2014 every business should have at least a website capable of informing customers what you have to offer, the time your store is open for business, and some contact information in case they needed to call. For retail stores, not having a fully functioning eCommerce website could be limiting the amount potential growth your company has. Think about it, in today’s world, when someone is looking for a retailer they go online and search for it. Unfortunately, the yellow pages are now considered to be practically stone aged but there is something you can do as a retailer to keep up with the times. Let us go through 10 reasons why your company needs to be on the web by 2014!

1. Promoting the Presence of your Brick-n-Mortar Store

Finding your store isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and can become quite frustrating. Having an online store you’re able to publish a virtual map on your website which can show directions and easy identifiable landmarks for customers to print out.

In case you’re business grows too large for your current store front, you may move to a large facility. Doing this you will be waiting on the phone company to come out and set up your connection, since a website is flexible you will be able to inform customers where you’re new shop.

2. Expanding the Market

The internet has allowed companies to offer their products to people all over the world, virtually in any country as long as they have internet service. This is huge for companies, being able to expand their businesses reach. On a smaller scale level, this helps small businesses become more competitive, you may not get that customer 1000 miles away, but you have the potential to grab that customer that may think it’s just a little far to drive to your store front.

3. 24/7/365

This is great for businesses, never having to close down ever again, make employees work endless hours! Ha! No, having a fully functioning website will allow you to step away from the shop on holidays and special occasions knowing that customers can still buy your product online. Having a website means your company will be able to stay open every hour of every day.

4. Advertising Goes Further

The internet is vastly different from print and media advertising. Print and media advertising can become quite costly not to mention frustrating, while having an online store companies can advertise online to customers for less while achieving more! With the technology today you are able to track each ads performance on a day to day basis.

5. Growth Opportunity

Having a website is a great place to refer potential investors and customers to, showing them what your company is about, what is stands for while having proof of what it has achieved and the potential is has to achieve in the future!

6. Standardize the Sales

Having the ability to study your website and looking at what sales approached worked and which have not. Studying this and taking notes will allow you to create the sale proof pitch using it on every customer to increase the amount of sales.

7. Adding Value and Satisfaction to the Customer

Your company website can add an invisible value to help your customers and visitors remember you better by adding general knowledge, advice, and featuring some tips. All of these things can not only improve the chance of your customers returning to your website but also help them remember what they’ve seen and read.

8. Credibility

A website provides the opportunity to inform potential customers what your company is     and why they can trust you and your products. Many people use the internet to                   reference ratings and reviews on products prior to purchasing a product. This also             allows a free marketing tool, where no longer do you have to spread the positive word       but your customers do some of the marketing for you by showing off where and how         they got their newest product.

9. Two-way Communicative Marketing

When a customer needs quick feedback on a product, they can easily refer to a                 website to find what they are looking for. Having a website that provides the feedback of     prior customers can ensure the newer customers that they are receiving what they are     paying for. They can also give your company the feedback on your products and the           marketing approach you may have took on that page.

10. Cheap Research

Having a website provides your business with the opportunity to show features, and           new products. But can also provide some market research to determine just how well       your business sizes up to the next by adding visitor polls, online surveys, and using           your web statistics.

This isn’t the Stone Age, store to store business may not be enough anymore. Make sure your business doesn’t suffer from the lack of knowledge available at hand. Take advantage of everything the web has to offer. Analyze the data and monitor your progress, to ensure the survival of your business. Don’t get left behind!

Tip of the Post

“Not having a functioning website only limits your company’s success” – Korey P.

Small Incentives to Increase Customer Sales

Generally speaking any main online business objective is to sell more products to new and returning customers alike. When potential customers shop online they are always looking for the best deal around, whether it be free shipping, a percentage discount, or even a simple graphic that entices them to click. It’s difficult for businesses to try to win every online price war; but what if your potential customers know that every day or every week you have a different item on special or on sale? In this short blog, we’re going to cover 3 small incentives your business can do right now to generate and increase sales.

  1. Specials – One of the most important tools that online business owners tend to forget is having some sort of special on one or more of their products. A special on a product could be something small but entices the potential buyer to follow through and purchase the product. A quality place to put a specials is anywhere on the home page that directs the potential customers’ eyes towards it.
  2. Shipping – Online buyers search multiple websites before they find the product they’ve been searching for at the amount they were looking to spend, but when they get to the end shipping costs could be the only difference between a customer buying a product from your and a competitor. Offering customers different shipping costs depending on the size of their shopping cart could entice customers to not only buy their product from you but also spend more money on your website to get the better shipping costs.
  3. Time and time again I’ve shopped online looking for good deals for the products I want to buy. After finding multiple options around the same price I often look to see what incentives or free items I may get with the purchase. For instance, if I’m deciding between two companies; If “Company A” offers me a free small item like a key-chain, where “Company B” doesn’t offer me anything, you better believe that “Company A” is going to get my business. Even if I know I’m not going to use the key-chain, the thought of receiving something for free always is more enticing. So in theory sometimes offering customers a small item that doesn’t cost much more than a few pennies could result in more business for your company.

Tip of the Post

“lower prices don’t always mean higher sales” – Korey Pavlika

Green Supply: Newest Addition of Distributors!

Since 2006, Outdoor Business Network has worked effortlessly to bring their retailers industry leading distributors and we are proud to announce the addition of Green Supply. Green Supply offers wholesale hunting, outdoors and sporting goods products with over 35 thousand products ranging from over 260 manufacturers. The partnership will allow Green Supply products to be distributed through the e-Commerce platform provided by Outdoor Business Network. The OBN team is excited to work with Green Supply and help build the image of the Outdoor industry.

Demographics: How to Increase Customer Numbers

Demographics: How to Increase Customer Numbers

While operating a business in the outdoor industry it is crucial to understand the demographic of your current and potential customers. A demographic is the way companies understand what “type” of customers they can expect to sell their products or services to. To a marketer, demographics can be found by these 5 factors: Age, Gender, Income Level, Race and Ethnicity. These are the factors that a business owner has to take into account when marketing their business so they aren’t wasting their money on groups of people that typically wouldn’t be interested in their products or services.

Now in the outdoor industry, businesses instantly think their only demographic are the Robin Hood or Wild West sort of people. Companies have to realize that there are other demographic they can appeal themselves to. This takes time and is not as easy as just throwing marketing efforts towards something just because it sounds good! You have to do your research and take notes to ensure your efforts aren’t going to waste.

Recently, we launched a website for a company called “Grasmeyer Guns“. The first word you notice in the store’s name is the word “gun”. Most people would think of the usual gun enthusiast stereotypes, like Wild West gun slingers or tactical gun stockpilers, but, you may be surprised to find out that their target demographic was families. The owner of Grasmeyer Guns successfully created a family environment where the average customer can feel comfortable, and know you’re going to get an honest opinion on their products. The website has an inclusive feel, that gun ownership is for everyone and families can feel comfortable and save around firearms.
Doing this opening up an entirely new demographic of people to visit their business. Not every business is going to have the same demographic, there are outside factors to look at as well such as location, and competition. Standing out in your community can benefit the business in a number of ways. Consistent efforts towards multiple demographics help keep your business name and reputation stay fresh inside the minds.

No two companies are the exact same, while they may have similar standard demographics including a new demographic groups can expand the reach of your business. For instance, in the outdoor industry, firearms and archery are main topics to discuss. While most are held by men, businesses that offer opportunities and appeal to women and children have the upper hand when selling their products or services. In the last few years the sector for selling women firearms has grown exponentially while children have become more in tune with archery. As a business owner you must take advantage of these opportunities where 1 sale could become a lifelong customer.

Building an inclusive atmosphere for your customers is a key aspect of business because creating a good experience for the customer the first time potentially means more products/services to be sold to not only that customer but his friends and family in the future. Creating good experiences take time and effort to become an expert at. Companies want to create a unique experience that the customer can only get at their store.

If companies can combine expanding their demographic to reach a higher audience while creating a unique experience, you can expect to see a higher percent in sales and returning customers. Yet it is important to understand what your demographic is and the potential demographic so your efforts are not a waste of time and money. In other words, tap into the resources that make the most sense, do your research, and execute to the best of your ability.

Tip of the Post
“Expand your business by creating unique experiences through multiple demographic channels” – Korey Pavlika

Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have discussed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a few times before but at Outdoor Business network we cannot express enough as to how important this is for any company that is online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important, especially as customer habits and search-engine algorithms change. Customers are becoming less likely to directly engage with a business when searching for information. Most of the customers are starting their discovery process with a search which makes search the largest digital marketing channel today.

The main goal of SEO is to ensure that the content on your web pages are easily understood by the people and the search engine algorithms; so in turn can be discovered by potential customers when they search for products or services that your company offers. The search engine algorithms are extremely complex and are hard to understand, they don’t take information in the same way a person that is searching. By consistently enhancing your companies SEO, you’re ensuring that the algorithms in place

No matter how advanced your SEO program is, if customers aren’t able to find the value in the content on your web pages, then your marketing efforts are a waste. It is crucial that marketers dedicate time and effort to creating content that is useful and engaging towards their demographic. If it is possible, a company should dedicate time weekly to create content. Keywords are able to easily determine what each page is about and how the content is useful for potential customers that are looking for answers. SEO is not a one-time action; it requires constant maintenance because search algorithms constantly change and update.

Branding: Growing Companies from the Ground Up

The early branding of a small or developing company is vital to its business success.  Doing this expresses what exactly your company has to offer. The inaccurate branding of a new business can increase the difficulty for the people to understand why the business exists in the first place. Companies that are just starting out along with small businesses tend to put branding in the backseat to the other aspects of a company such as funding and product development. Doing this is a mistake because a company’s brand is one of the key factors to its success. Dollar for dollar, it is just as crucial compared to any other beginning steps of a new or small business.

The brand your company creates in its face to the world. branding starts with the company name and how that name is expressed visually through a logo that portrays what the company is/does. A brand is also how your demographic customers look at your company then they associate an amount of inherent value on your business. A company’s brand is sort of like a secret promise. It is part of the fundamental principles that can be understood by any individual or company that comes into contact with your business.

Some people may ask “where” I put my brand out there or “how”. The secret is wherever you believe your company can portray themselves accurately. Small or startup businesses that have Social Medias need to also keep in mind that the brand of your business is everywhere. The importance of branding cannot be overlooked and has been proven time again that the success of a small or startup business can rely on its branding to help mature them. A business must stand behind while protecting your brand from outside sources or other companies.

Are you Mobile for 2014?

In today’s society people are always on the go, but having the technology at hand allows them to access the internet by their mobile device. The ability to access the internet with their mobile device has create a new platform for marketers and retail stores to accustom to. It is crucial for your retail store to have your website become mobile device friendly. Did you know that 46% of all online sales come from a mobile device? If your company is not mobile device friendly in 2014 you, could potentially be missing out on almost half of your online sales.

Customers reaching out to your website through their mobile device want to be able to access and navigate your mobile friendly site with ease. Therefore, it is important for your website to display only the necessary information that you want them to see that they can view on their mobile device. Doing this directs the customers to the products or categories that you want to sell the most. On top of having an easily navigable mobile device site, you must incorporate a simple check out system so your customers can buy their products in a minimal amount of time.

Other than making your website mobile device compatible, you must consider other areas where you solicit your company such as email and newsletters. In 2013 65% of all email and newsletters were opened through a mobile device and has been predicted to increase in 2014. Therefore when sending out company newsletters with your coupons, deals, or anything else you must consider making them mobile friendly as well. This way you can get a higher opening percent rate and potentially drive more customers to your online or into your store.

Following those simple guidelines your company could see an increase in sale during 2014.

Marketing through Social Media’s

Would you like to indirectly increase the traffic of your website with minimal effort involved? There’s an easy solution that will help; it’s called social media. People use social media on a daily basis, online and on their mobile smart phones while becoming an important aspect in the marketing industry. Social Medias began as a way for people to virtually connect with one another over the web.

Big companies have been using social media as a way to increase current customer relations along with appealing to a new fan base generated by your current customers through the promotion of your products. It is crucial to incorporate these non-traditional marketing tools to continuously present your brand to potential customers.  Companies tend to use more popular social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter, but those may not appeal to your customer’s demographics. I encourage you think outside of the box and incorporate less common social medias like Instagram and Pinterest as a way to stretch your online audience.

Facebook has the largest outreach to potential online customer with over 1.2 billion users worldwide. Facebook was design to make personal connections through an online profile; companies use Facebook to show what products or services they offer by a bigger preview. Another big Social Media is Twitter; unlike Facebook, Twitter is used primarily for connecting accounts with common interests through hash-tags (#). Hash-tags can be used to as a general search subject and with some optimization can increase your traffic. If your company relies on product images or like to interact with consumers through pictures; your company benefit from using Social Media’s such as Instagram or Pinterest.

Companies that incorporate Social Medias to their e-Commerce website have been able to increase the traffic of their website substantially. On average 46% of web users will look towards social media before making a purchase rather than looking at reviews. It is important for your company to integrate prompt and consistent response times if you choose to adapt to the Social Media trend.

Check out the brand new Facebook Module that highlights featured products directly onto your Facebook account!

SHOT Show University

Our President and CEO Curtis Jazwiecki will be hosting Shot Show University seminars addressing retailers and industry leader’s about the importance of online marketing within a company. His talk will focus on why you need to engage your customers and how to do so effectively. The marketing with social media speech is part 1 of a 5 session series focusing on marketing in today’s fast paced business environment. Sessions begin on Monday January 13, in Break Room 2, at 10:40 AM. For more information go to http://www.shotshow.org/education/ and or http://www.shotshow.org/shot-university-speakers#jazwiecki

Session 1: Marketing with Social Media (10:40 – 11:50 AM)                                                                                                                                                                                                  Learn the latest tips and tactics to increase the success of your marketing with social media.

Session 2: New Technologies to Drive Foot Traffic to Your Store (1:10 – 2:00 PM)

Seminar will focus on the latest technologies retailers can use to leverage technology to engage customers and bring them into their retail space.

Session 3: Building a Marketing Plan (2:10 – 3:00 PM)         

Class will help retailers to understand the key components that go into making a world-class marketing plan.

Session 4: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (3:10 – 4:00 PM)

Seminar will highlight eight simple steps that can dramatically impact your search engine rankings and insure you are getting the most from your SEO efforts.

Session 5: Determine your Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) (4:10 – 5:00 PM)

Learn how to determine the financial return on your marketing plan with this introductory class.

Minimum Advertised Pricing!

It came to my attention recently that some companies/people are under the impression that we are here to enable people to violate suppliers MAP’s. That is minimum advertised pricing for those of you who may not know. It is OBN’s intent to encourage the use of MAP and to help in any reasonable way to guide our clients who may have inadvertently or intentionally dropped advertised prices below MAP. We are more than willing to assist anyone who calls on us regarding this matter. With that said I have attached an article below to give the very basics on MAP for your information. If you have any questions please call us at 800-699-0820 ext. 1.

How Minimum Advertised Pricing Impacts Your Retail or Online Store’s Marketing Efforts

by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator at www.SBA.gov

If you run an online or retail business, did you know that you might be prohibited from advertising a manufacturer’s products below a certain minimum price?

Minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policies are particularly critical to manufacturers who sell their products for online resale, given the ease at which consumers can now conduct online and mobile price comparisons. MAP policies are also established to help small businesses compete and sell on service and value, rather than entering into a price war with cost-cutting big box stores.

But how legally enforceable are these minimum advertised pricing policies and, as a small business owner, is there a way to get around them in your sales and marketing practices?

The Truth About Minimum Advertised Pricing

Minimum advertised pricing only relates to “advertised” pricing and is perfectly legal under U.S. antitrust statutes. So, essentially, you are limited to advertising MAP-protected products at a certain price, but you can sell these products at any price you choose (often guided by the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price or MSRP).

What Does this Mean for Online Businesses?

Under typical MAP agreements, online retailers can’t “display” any prices that fall below the MAP price. But which part of an online store actually represents advertising display space has caused quite a bit of controversy. For example, say a product is listed on a site for $10. Once a coupon code or other incentive is applied, the actual shopping cart price could come down to $8. Is that still considered “advertising” since a transaction technically hasn’t yet occurred, or is it a commitment to buy and outside the scope of a MAP agreement?

The difference between an advertised price and an actual price that you may be charged has come under scrutiny by U.S. Circuit Courts and FTC rulings, which tend to agree that an actual price displayed in a secure/encrypted shopping cart isn’t subject to MAP – because it’s technically not advertising space, but represents an actual storefront. So in an online world, an actual price may legally end up being a lot lower than the MAP-required advertised price.

In fact, manufacturers are often advised to focus their MAP policies on advertised prices in paid search ads, shopping comparison ads, and internet landing pages but not in shopping carts or other point of sale interfaces.

Look for Alternative Ways to Discount

While it’s not always advisable to lead with price in your marketing efforts, look for other ways to attract customers without breaking any MAP agreements. For example, many manufacturers are okay with your offering free shipping, coupon codes, or a “buy-one-get-one at a discount,” if MAP doesn’t protect that other item. Essentially, as long as the dollar value of the MAP-protected product isn’t reduced, then you are okay. Be careful with coupon codes. It’s safer to advertise the coupon—not the product that it can be applied against—so as not to imply that you are advertising the MAP item at a reduced price. Instead, be clear about what items are excluded from any coupon code promotion.

The Bottom Line

If you are unsure about how your online advertising and marketing practices may border on breaking any MAP agreement you have with a manufacturer, talk to them or consult a legal attorney. Manufacturers do monitor their dealers for potential violations and the law is constantly in flux on this one, so do your due diligence.

For more information about the legality of MAP policies, check out the Federal Trade Commission Guide to Antitrust Laws.