It’s a brave new world… or is it? Maybe it’s just me but I feel like it’s the same old world just with a mask slapped on it. But I am the type of person who hides behind a keyboard and keeps their distance from others naturally. So, staying out of stores and doing online purchasing is something that I’ve been comfortable with for a long time - but I realize that this isn’t the case for a good chunk of our population. There are many people who need to touch, smell, and try their purchases before they buy.

As a business, you’ve seen your storefront business drop, change, twist, in ways you’ve never prepared for. Your online business has and will continue to be the most important way to retain your customers – and at the end of this article we want to hear from you about your specific challenges and how you’re managing! The question is how do we convert the hard core in-store shoppers to online shoppers? As we look to the future, we’re not going to see a drop in online sales versus in-store sales – so we need to have a chat about your website.

Your website IS your STOREFRONT

Chances are – even your hard-core in-store shoppers have browsed you online before coming into your store. Web gurus have harped on it for years but now more than ever – you need to treat your website AS YOUR MAIN STOREFRONT!  A good chunk of the time and money investments you would have put into your storefront, need to be allocated to your online business.

This means your online presence should be as enticing as your actual store. If you have crystal chandeliers in your store, your website better be just as bespoke! (Although, if your store happens to be an unmitigated disaster… I guess you should ignore that advice.)

Make sure that the visitor experience is as seamless and pleasurable as possible to make them want to make not only a purchase, but a repeat purchase. This means investing in hosting to ensure a fast experience, investing in excellent UI/UX design, proper copywriting and fast optimized graphics.

Product display

Product Displays are Super Important!

Your hard-core in-store shoppers need to know as much as they’d physically experience in order to make their purchase. Size, shape, materials, endorsements, information both in text and imagery are extremely important to the user journey. Don’t just slap a product up on your site – the information is what will bring, retain, and ultimately create that online sale! And just like in-store – you can match and entice customers with complementary products for cross sales.

They Need to Know They’re Safe

Hard-core in-store shoppers are wary of online sales. They need to know it’s SAFE to use your site, and they need to know WHEN they’ll receive their purchase. Investing in high end security features, and logistics for shipping are very important to your end users. Developing a good return policy and having excellent customer service is also paramount to this demographic. They can be easily frustrated when they can’t talk to someone about their issues like they could in a store.

Spend time researching your unique customers to see if you’re giving them what they need to feel safe and assured in making an online purchase with you. You may find when you talk to your in-store customers they mention “being on your website” or  “I saw this on your website”. Ask them why they came into the store instead of purchasing online. Listen to their feedback – make notes and help them understand that you hear them. You will learn a lot, you will increase trust just by listening, and you can make adjustments for a better experience.

Start Paying Attention to your Analytics

Installing Google Analytics can answer a lot of your basic business questions and quickly identify what is NOT working on your website. For example: if you’re losing a majority of your traffic in 15 seconds – then you haven’t generated interest. If they’re staying but not buying, are they properly flowing through your sales funnel – or getting stuck somewhere? Once you’ve identified your site’s shortcomings, you can work on fixing them. For example, an excess of abandoned carts could be remedied by bonuses and coupons for a quick sale or multiple item sale.

For more advanced analytic questions you can install Google Tag Manager and set up goals and special events to dig even deeper into the what, where, how and why of your users.

online shopping coupon found on Facebook for Little Caesars Pizza

Bring VALUE to Repeat Customers

If you’re struggling with online sales – what are you doing to create a customer or repeat customer? Do you have an online loyalty program? What about a referral program? Giving your loyal customers a REASON to stay with you is so very important when they can literally shop anywhere at the click of a finger. Give them value – and make sure it’s what THEY value. If that’s a beautiful unique experience with amazing customer service – do it! If that’s coupons – send them out!  If it’s tutorial videos explaining your products – make them!

Don’t be afraid to look at your company or product reviews to see what people are saying – this can really help you find what your customers are asking for.

What is Your End Goal – Are You Helping Them Get There?

Or maybe we should start with… have you IDENTIFIED your goal? For some businesses, it’s not the sale – just getting a contact is a conversion.

Once you’ve identified your main goal, how are you helping them get there? In-store might have signage, or a large display at the entrance, it might ask them to talk to an associate, or set up an appointment. Think about how that might translate to your digital presence. Your goal should never be hidden, if you’re a store, you want their sale, if you are a contractor, you want to give them a quote. Don’t hide it – never be afraid to have your goal proudly displayed just like your in-store salesperson would ask for it.

Be Open for Business

In the end, your website is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, storefront. When you can’t be open for your customer, your online business is. So don’t ignore the importance of your online presence – invest in it, and your customers will thank you.

As always, we’re here to help if you have questions or need direction. Just contact us at [email protected]

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