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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By Robbi Meisel 20 Feb, 2017
MURRAY, Ky., (Feb. 2017) — Chris Wooldridge, Kentucky Small Business Development Center district director for the Murray State University SBDC and Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, has joined the board of directors of the Foundation for Kentucky Industry.

FKI is a statewide, not-for-profit, with the goal of strengthening manufacturing in Kentucky, a very important economic driver in the commonwealth. FKI’s Board of Directors is comprised of manufacturing, education, economic development and public policy leaders.
Project and program partners currently include LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow), JPMorgan Chase, KY FAME (Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education), business and public partners.

“We are pleased to announce Chris Wooldridge, District Director of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center at the Murray State University Bauernfeind College of Business, will be joining the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Kentucky Industry. Mr. Wooldridge’s experience and expertise regarding business and economic development will be a great asset to the Foundation’s work of maximizing career opportunities for both Kentuckians and industry in 21st century manufacturing,” according to Mary C. Breeding, President and CEO, Foundation for Kentucky Industry (FKI).

About Murray State University SBDC: Murray State University hosts the West Kentucky Region of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center program.  KSBDC is a network of 12 offices located throughout the state that helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. The KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
By Robbi Meisel 06 Jan, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Jan. 5, 2017) – The Kentucky Small Business Development Center significantly contributed to the state and federal economy during the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to an independent study conducted by James J. Chrisman, professor of management, Mississippi State University. The study was completed in June 2016 and shows that small businesses working with the center increased sales and employment figures at a greater percentage than an average business in Kentucky. KSBDC clients increased sales by 14.4 percent versus 3.8 percent, and increased employment levels by 15.1 percent compared to 1.5 percent.

Other findings from the Chrisman study:

  • KSBDC clients created 1,156 new jobs.
  • For every dollar invested in the program, $2.63 returned to the economy.
  • For every dollar invested in KSBDC counseling services, $9.47 returned to the economy.
  • KSBDC clients obtained $58.9 million in financing.
  • KSBDC clients increased incremental sales in Kentucky by $108.4 million.
  • KSBDC clients generated $8.55 million dollars in state and federal tax revenue.
  • Clients gave KSBDC staff a 4.7 on a 5-point scale for knowledge and expertise.
  • Clients recommended KSBDC services 98 percent of the time.

“KSBDC staff work very hard to serve Kentucky small businesses. We are very proud of the results of this independent, third-party research and are very pleased with the impact produced by our network,” said Becky Naugle, state director.

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .

 

Writer: Roberta Meisel , 859-257-7668

 

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

 

By Robbi Meisel 18 Oct, 2016

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Oct. 18, 2016) –The Office of Veterans Business Development recognized Patricia Krausman, director of the Elizabethtown Small Business Development Center, as one of the six most outstanding instructors for the 2016 Boots 2 Business program.

Boots to Business is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is a training track within the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. The curriculum provides valuable assistance for transitioning service members who are exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities. The program leads them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and providing the foundation required to develop a business plan. In addition, participants are introduced to Small Business Administration partners and resources.

The recognition was based on the instructors’ contributions and dedication to the program and to service members, veterans and spouses in their business ownership endeavors. Nominations for this achievement came from Small Business Administration offices across the country.

Krausman has provided business management consulting and training for more than 20 years. In 2009, she developed and served as the director of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s Veterans Assistance Program, the resource for veteran business support and advocacy. Additionally, she was chosen as A Veteran’s Small Business Advocate of the Year in 2013 by the Kentucky Small Business Administration. She takes an active role in her work and advocacy, serving as a member of the Kentucky Commission on Small Business Advocacy, the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board and the Governor’s Veterans Interagency Task Force. She was awarded the prestigious Kentucky Association for Economic Development Allied Professional of the Year in 2014.

“The Kentucky Small Business Development Center has a long-standing commitment to veterans and veteran-owned businesses. Boots 2 Business is a program specifically designed by the Small Business Administration and its resource partners to ensure that veterans have expert guidance and direction in their path to entrepreneurship,” Krausman said. “It’s an honor to be included in the recognition of outstanding instructors for the national SBA Boots 2 Business program. Veterans are exceptional entrepreneurs, and it is rewarding to have the opportunity to support them in their successful transition to small-business ownership.”

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .

 

Photo provided by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center –Patricia Krausman. ©KSBDC

 

Writer: Roberta Meisel , 859-257-7668

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

 

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