Our Toronto-based sales agent made some interesting points about the average retailer’s state of mind in today’s market. His points were frightening, enlightening, validating and motivating all at the same time. Here’s why.
Our agent, Stuart, speaks with small retailers all over Ontario every day and, invariably, the discussion turns to the challenges that these traditional retailers face. This includes concerns about online retailers, discounters and off-price daily deals. And they’re right to be concerned. Because, as a brick and mortar retailer, there are things you just can’t control.
However, when it comes to selling to people in an increasingly digital world, what you can control is how you use digital approaches to intercept shoppers. If you start with the premise that a segment of the population will only buy online, your responsibility is to look for buyers who will visit your store to make a purchase. Your focus should be on those who will only shop in retail stores or use search engines and online reviews to make a purchase decision.
After all, why worry about the others when they are not your target? The fact is, 85% of consumers still prefer to shop in physical stores vs. online stores and 50% of local searches lead to a store visit within a day.
So there are people looking to spend money offline. They are looking for advice on where to go. Your role, in this case, is to intercept their search and prevent your competitors from converting this online search to store visits.
But how? Here are five steps to intercepting these consumers:
- Claim your listings so that you control the details search engines and review sights present about your business. Take control of what prospective clients see about you and your physical location.
- Research what the most “winnable” keywords are for your business and associate them to your listing. Make sure that these keywords are specific enough to separate you from the pack, but general enough to cast the widest net.
- Optimize for local search by tagging your listing with the proper geo-modifiers and ensuring that people searching for your product in specific areas can easily find you.
- Monitor your online reviews to respond to any detractors and highlight your promoters.
- Capture new customers’ emails and communicate with them on a regular basis so that you’re fresh in their minds and able to reward them for being loyal.
The low hanging fruit in the retail environment is not in trying to convert consumer behaviour away from the online world, it’s using the online ecosystem to your advantage. Get found by those who are searching for what you offer, direct them to your location and give them a great shopping experience. That is what will keep them coming back again and again.