Whether you’re a small business that gets wholesale products on your shelves or part of a multi-channel retailer, you’ve probably worried that “Customers are buying products from the company’s website and not from my store.”
One of the chief complaints companies get is that their e-commerce site takes business away from the brick-and-mortar stores. Others argue that online shopping allows customers to purchase from different companies through comparison shopping.
Some request that companies don’t sell anything online so that they can get more customers to their stores instead.
At the end of the day, businesses want to know, how do websites and digital marketing help get more feet in their doors?
Online Shopper Mentality
Picture this. You decide to purchase a new pair of shoes and you have your heart set on MercuryWings SwiftKickers running shoes that you saw somebody else wearing. You also happened to see an ad for them and decide to look them up online while you take a break at work.
While you’re online, you see another pair that you are interested in called Pegasus 2.0. Both have interesting technical aspects built into the shoe and the reviews are in favor of the SwiftKickers. With this new information in mind, you decide to hit up the mall after work and hurry to finish your projects.
According to Accenture, 88% of shoppers research a product online and go in store to buy it.
Once you arrive at the store, you try on both pairs of shoes while asking the salesperson about which they prefer. You learn some new information from them but also know more specific data from your online research. After a thorough walk around in the store with each pair a few times, you jump back onto your mobile to read the information again and look up comparative reviews.
Finally, after much mental back-and-forth, your heart settles on the Pegasus 2.0 shoes and you head to the cash register with the shoebox under one arm.
Confident In-Store Sales
This scenario presents a customer that goes into a store with the mindset of purchasing a product because they’ve already researched it. Compared to those who window shop and are not sure if a shoe they try on is right for running or whether they’ll fall apart after 10 miles, this shopper is armed with knowledge and confidence that the decision they are going to make is the most educated and best one.
Consumers can learn many things online that they can’t in store such as:
- If other people who purchased it were satisfied
- Does it have the latest technology
- Is it the right product for their needs
- Is the salesperson knowledgeable about this product
- Is the brand reputable
- Long-term opinions on the product usage
- Most importantly, is the perceived value worth the cost and effort
By comparison shopping online before entering the store, the consumer can confidently make a purchase and walk away happy without experiencing buyer’s remorse and returning the product the next day. For those that are already sure of their purchase, some companies offer a “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” option.
How Digital Marketing Helps Brick & Mortar
Digital marketing brings to the table a wealth of information that traditional marketing can’t always provide to consumers within seconds. A brand can extend consumer brand loyalty into an online relationship that speaks directly to their target while gaining interest from others.
Onsite, digital marketing done right caters to what people are searching for, capturing their attention and educating them. Businesses that are only concerned with making sales will lose out on repeat customers and word-of-mouth in the long-run. It is crucial that you focus your marketing on the end user, that is, your customers.
When a customer comes to your site, the ability to comparison shop online by seeing multiple images of products with high-quality photos, videos, specifications, reviews, and tips keep the audience captivated and interested in your product. It also allows customers to browse your other products that they were not aware of and share it with friends and family.
For stores and wholesale accounts, listing each location on the website with the pertinent information that customers look for, such as address, phone number, and store hours, helps customers find where you’re at and visit in person.
The consumer-brand relationship continues through the website to social media and email marketing. People they know can discover your new products and brands while interacting with your company in a positive manner, which resonates in their minds and encourages new customers and repeat purchases.
Through email marketing, PPC display ads, and social media, companies are able to quickly send information about events, new products, and discounts to their target while also serving as a reminder to come back and shop either online or in-store.