Take Your Business Online: 3 Tips from Up and Coming E-Retailers

  • By creekmoremarketing
  • 31 Jul, 2015

The best retail stores have a recipe for success that combines unmatched customer service with a product mix built to meet consumer needs. But why limit the customer experience to in-store visitors? A 2013 study by eMarketer estimates U.S. consumers spent $37.44 billion on retail purchases made via smartphones and tablets. More than sales, your Web prospects offer valuable insight into future marketing strategies. Taking an offline and online approach to leverage the customer experience can catapult your retail business to greater success.

Low-Cost Visibility

Customers seek instant access to wants and needs, be it a drive or click away. A study by Accenture confirms that  88 percent of shoppers look online for products  before deciding to go into a physical store to make a purchase. Not providing consumers with multiple purchasing platforms narrows the window of prospective buyers. Expand your reach without destroying your budget by adding an online shopping experience. In an instant gratification-driven market, transaction ease is key to profitability, regardless of the product. For example, mattress manufacturer Casper takes a digital approach to a once retail-only shopping experience. Rather than limiting mattress sales to in-store-only purchases, Casper expands its reach nationally with a hassle-free solution to bed buying. The appeal of online ordering and fast shipping is enhanced with cost-reduced options made possible, in part, by overhead cost savings.

Get Started Tip:  User-friendly website builders like  Weebly  provide easy shopping cart options that enable fast product uploads. To save time, the program templates are automatically optimized for mobile use.


Build your Brand

Becoming a household name, or even a neighborhood favorite, takes knowing your customer. An e-commerce platform acts as a testing ground for new products and marketing strategies to help you gather valuable insight into consumer needs. More than demographics, it’s imperative to mine personal data including customer likes, dislikes, life stage, and social interests. Take e-commerce giant Wayfair for example. According to Forbes, the company constantly probes and processes information about its customers to interact with them, anticipate their wishful thinking, personalize their home pages and turn search into a form of entertainment. The  Web-only furniture and home decor retailer  hit record numbers with a reported $1 billion in web sales in 2013. Powered by educated consumer observations, the company has expanded their brand portfolio to include Joss & Main, a flash sales site for upscale home goods.

Get Started Tip:  Use your e-commerce site to pinpoint your market. Web-based tools like Get Satisfaction enable small businesses to build online communities and provide a more social support experience to improve customer loyalty.


The Customer Experience

Adding an e-commerce platform doesn’t mean abandoning the brick-and-mortar strategy. Omni-channel retailing isn’t about creating one-way streets. It’s about connecting the cloud with physical space and streamlining the customer experience. Consider the strategy behind Warby Parker. An online retailer that offers $95 single-vision frames in 27 proprietary styles.  A simple concept that has grown  into a growing number of online sales. To enhance the customer experience, full service retail stores have opened New York City, Boston and Los Angeles. Complete with a photo booth that emails visitors their images and a tablet-based checkout, consumers can expect the same modern and engaged feel within Warby Parker’s physical store locations.

Get Started Tip:  More than meeting customers on their own terms and in their preferred platforms, your company culture should transcend across all platforms. Incorporate digital strategies in-store and promote online community by engaging in social media.

Kevin Norvell
Web Project Manager
KSBDC

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You’ve chosen a career in podiatric medicine and for many reasons. Perhaps it’s the aspect of caring for others in your community that allows you to thrive, or the vast interest you had in the science that initially started your career, but there is always one aspect of a job that keeps you coming back for more day after day. Whatever your motivation is to strive to earn the “best podiatrist in town” title, your patients are looking for the same passion and professionalism when in search of the right doctor for their individual needs. While there is no secret for running the most successful podiatry practice in your community, there are easily obtainable methods available to successfully market your business and expand your services.

Maybe you are the best podiatrist in town and consider your practice and your staff the staple hold of your reputation. How will the local citizens realize this without you pinpointing it first? They won’t. Without efficient advertising your business is established but not growing. Try running an advertisement in the local newspapers or radio to reach a wider audience. Building a reliable and easy to use website is another advertising outlet for your business and provides the opportunity to extensively highlight your services and staff. From printing business cards to handing out pens with your practice’s name, you must remind consumers that you are in business and motivated to serve them.

Someone in need of a podiatrist notices your advertisements or is recommended by others in the community and are considering your practice. They call your office to schedule an appointment and your reputation is immediately in jeopardy. Your advertising campaign has promised exceptional service and your expected to deliver great results. How can you achieve this goal? By simply dedicating your practice to caring about your patients. You began this career for a reason and genuinely caring about your patients is the best form of service you can offer. From staffing your business with compassionate employees, to following through with excellent patient care, the way you treat your customers can have the most impact on your practice’s reputation. When hiring staff, be sure that they meet the professional standards and requirements for the job but that they also value the needs of the patients. Whether it’s a first time visitor or a repeat customer, making your patients feel assisted and comfortable in your office is crucial to running a successful business.

Advertising doesn’t always mean a billboard next to a major intersection or handing out business cards, but it can also mean putting your reputation where your mouth is, or your patient’s mouths, for that matter. Networking with others throughout the community is crucial for sustaining your podiatrist office and word of mouth can be the most impactful marketing tools available. When you provide outstanding service your patients will reflect this with recommendations, repeat business, and loyalty. This form of networking not only builds a strong patient database but it allows for free advertising and perhaps the most reliable and easiest source of promotion available. Networking with other local doctors or hospitals for patient referrals can also help build a positive reputation among the community and prove your willingness to serve to the best of your potential while also getting your name out there.

Even though there is no specific or correct way to successfully brand and market your individual business, by establishing the core values of offering remarkable customer service and patient care along with advertising, the basics for running a successful podiatry practice are already in place.

Article by Amy at Crown Foot & Ankle Center .

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