Posts tagged online shopping

Attack the Competition, Not Retailers Who Sell Your Product

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The advent of eCommerce is blurring the lines between selling your own product online versus selling through a third-party retailer. The upside is that it is easier than ever to sell directly to your customers. The downside is that it is also easy to step on the toes of retailers you have a business relationship with.

How can you compete with other brands online without also competing with your own business partners?

Attack Competitors Directly

The brand that you are competing against is probably not spending as much on Google ad traffic as your retailers are. With that in mind, making Google your sole online ad placement is a bad idea because you compete with yourself more than with other brands. It is important to find better places to spend ad dollars where you will be able to compete directly with other brands.

Redirecting Search Traffic to Retailers

One way to get around this dilemma is to target your search and social ads to drive traffic to your product on a retailer’s site rather than your own eCommerce site. Now you can still compete with other brands for ad spots without hurting the retailers that drive the majority of your product sales. Plus, many retailers track that traffic, making you a more valuable partner—versus being a competing online site.

Focus on Retailer Advertising

Another great way to team up with retailers is to spend your ad dollars in the retail world. Placing an ad directly on a retailer’s site puts you in competition only with other brands, and not with the retailer. Plus, you get another advantage of going where the consumers are. After all, research shows that about 2 out of 3 shoppers go straight to a retail site like Amazon or Walmart to start a product search, rather than a site like Google.

When you take the attention off driving traffic to your site, and place it on driving traffic toward your product, you cease to compete with the retailers who help mass-sell your product. Now you are placing the focus of your marketing back where it should be—beating out competing brands for a sale.

What Type of Consumers Are You Targeting?

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We often break consumers down into demographics by age, gender, nationality, and other variables. However, wouldn’t it make more sense to define consumers by their purchasing behavior? Consider the following types of customers and see where your target audience falls.

Self-Disciplined Consumers

This is the consumer who isn’t going to fall for an impulse-buy gimmick. They can watch infomercials and are not tempted to call the 800 number. They are usually very successful in business because they are self-motivated and take a well-thought-out approach to matters. If your target audience falls into this category, you need to forget a “sell the sizzle, not the steak” approach. The consumer will want facts, research, and 5-star reviews before making a purchase.

The Adventurous Type

These consumers are looking for new ideas and new experiences. Targeting these users means creating a sense of excitement about your product, and promoting the unique experience that comes along with it. These are consumers who want the latest and greatest and will never settle for last year’s model just to avoid change.

Social Consumers

These extroverts are in it for the experience as well. Campaigns need to revolve around social media. Creating a community for your brand gives them a feeling of camaraderie that will result in brand loyalty as their social needs are fulfilled. Look to this type for finding your brand advocates.

The Negative Type

These consumers are the toughest to deal with. They will take a bad customer experience personally and harbor resentment toward your brand for a long time. Product quality and consistency are critical because one bad experience can negate a lifetime of good ones.

Hippie Consumers

Can’t we all just get along? That’s what these consumers want to do. If you expect these peacemakers to buy your product, you need to stay out of the controversial limelight. You will lose them to a more palatable competitor if any scandal comes to light. If you want to promote love and peace as your brand’s principles, then you better be living up to the ideals in the way you conduct your business from the way you source materials to the way you test and package them.

Customer Engagement Through Mobile

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Customer Engagement Through Mobile: How Many Should You Be Reaching?

Many in the business world are saying that a mere six percent is the sweet spot. But, the fact is, this figure only includes consumer engagement and not necessarily a sale. Would you count that kind of a figure a success? If six percent of your customers download your app and none of them even use it to make a purchase through the app, what did you gain? At most, you get a small percentage of in-store sales through a coupon on the app. Or, maybe you sell some advertising space.

It is well known that consumers are doing their research on mobile devices before making purchases. Can you take your customers from the planning phase to the buying stage, right there on their mobile device? Now, that is a far more tangible success. Use your app as the jump point between research and sale.

Take 1-800 Contacts as an example. What do you think holds people back from buying contacts online? Before filling a prescription, contact sellers need to see the prescription. That’s something that has to happen in person, right? I mean, some people will be willing to type in the info, but if they mistype something, or misread the doctor’s handwriting, they are stuck with useless contacts and no recourse. A lot of people are unwilling to take that chance. Enter the 1-800 Contact app, which lets you send in your prescription via taking a photo with your mobile device. This puts the responsibility on the company to get your prescription right. Customers feel more secure and mobile sales ensue. The app isn’t just fluff. It’s a sales device.

The other thing to consider about customer engagement through mobile is when to engage your consumers. Will it be considered a convenience or terrifying if a coupon pops up on their phone when they come within a certain distance of your store? Some people may spend a little extra thanks to the incentive. While I, for one, welcome personalization, others may feel that tracking their location is an invasion of privacy. You have to gauge how your customers will deal with such a mobile solicitation.

Becoming a Digital Marketeer

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Becoming a Digital Marketer: Things You Must Learn

When you want to break into the field of digital marketing there is a basic foundation that you need to have. Because many in the marketing field don’t have a lot of IT experience, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. In this article, we will consider some useful IT skills that can make becoming a digital marketeer easier.

Let’s start with social media. Marketing campaigns involving social media are becoming more commonplace, because most people are on their mobile devices for that sort of content anyway. It is thus necessary to know how to use various social media sites, what the repercussions are for using them poorly, the benefits of using them well, and the methods of marketing that are available.

Next, you want to have a good understanding of online metrics in order to calculate or estimate ROI for various campaigns. It can be a little tougher to find the ROI of an email campaign than the ROI of a coupon in the Sunday newspaper. You also need to be able to measure conversions to be sure that your campaigns are reaching some of the less financially tangible goals.

The world of web design is ever evolving, and you need to stay up to date. This means understanding search engine optimization and, now, app store optimization for any business applications your company may develop.

Finally, there is the matter of selling your products online. People love to shop from their computers, phones, and tablets. You should be familiar with what goes into a well-designed online shopping cart. The best encourage customers to complete a sale rather than walk away with stuff in their bag (the online equivalent of ditching products while on the checkout line). While you probably won’t have to design this sort of thing yourself, you will want to be knowledgeable enough to have a say on how to keep the interface consumer friendly.

While you won’t need to become a full-fledged IT before becoming a digital marketeer, the more you know about these subjects, the better off you will be.

Keep Your Online Shoppers Coming Back

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Keep Your Online Shoppers Coming Back: Treat Them Like You Would Like to Be Treated

A disgruntled customer isn’t going to storm out of your online store and come back to drive their SUV through the glass. They just won’t come back at all, which means lost sales. Here are some suggestions you can apply that will keep your online shoppers coming back.

First of all, you should not charge the customer for returns. It is annoying to pay for the return postage just because someone ordered the wrong size. However, if you think of it as overhead, just like what brick-and-mortar stores have, it may be easier to take. And, think of it this way, you don’t have to worry about customers walking out of the store with a product they didn’t pay for.

Second, be sure your product descriptions are worthwhile. Here’s an example: Don’t sell speakers and forget to list the frequency response range. Informed consumers want to know these kinds of details, even if it’s just a portable speaker. It is also important to provide information like accurate product dimensions, including weight.

Also, make sure your ‘Search’ works correctly. If a customer searches for hard-shell luggage and they get 3 results, well, that is good. However, if they go to buy or select another item and your site’s ‘Recommended products’ includes another hard-shell luggage piece that wasn’t in the original results, they will quickly get frustrated and move on.

“How many hoops do I have to jump through to get you to take my money?” If a customer is wondering this, then the odds are items will get left in the cart—and they won’t be back for them. Make the site easy to navigate, especially the checkout procedure. Make it easy to adjust items in the cart, whether it is removing an item or adjusting the quantity.

Finally, customer service may be even more important to online shoppers. If there is an issue, respond promptly and try to resolve it to the customer’s satisfaction the first time. If you follow these suggestions, you will keep your online shoppers coming back, time and time again.

The Link between Digital Advertising and In-Store Purchasing

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We’ve heard the death knell ring for years. The outcry is that online shopping will replace in-store shopping. Amazon, the online shopping giant, has encouraged opponents to continue the uproar, with offers to beat in-store prices. But is the digital age really the end of in-store shopping?

Research has shown that even the younger generation—those born in and after the year 2000—actually prefer going to the store versus buying products on the web. Some are willing to forego cheaper online prices to be able to walk into a store and bring home what they want that same day. And while in-store shopping is far from dead, the digital age is now playing a role as well: According to one survey, nearly two-thirds of in-store shoppers checked online reviews before buying a product in the store.

Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of purchases that start out online end up in-store. Thus, the real secret for brick-and-mortar stores surviving in the digital age is to combine the two advertising methods and by catching the interest of online shoppers.

One big thing needed is to bring the online store in harmony with the physical store. No one is going to come into your store to buy a product if they find it to be priced higher online and don’t know what the in-store price is. Also, it’s a good idea to let online shoppers be able to check for availability at their local store so they know if they can pick the item up right away. Consider your online store as an extension of the in-store showroom.

Try different online campaigns to see what works. If you have a 50% discount coupon for an item on one site and a “buy one, get one free” coupon for the same item on another site, you may find that one coupon is used far more often than the other. It also may have nothing to do with how good the coupon is; certain sites may just create more sales for you.

Don’t be afraid to partner up with other local businesses to get people up from their easy chairs and into your store. Offering a free drink from the coffee shop next door with an in-store purchase may be all it takes to get customers away from their computer screens and into an actual physical establishment.

In the end, the physical store is not obsolete. It just needs to adapt to the digital age, especially when it comes to advertising.

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