The coronavirus has certainly changed our concept of normal. The impact this pandemic has had on life, business and relationships is still unfolding, and will no doubt continue to be felt for years to come. Even after the virus itself has faded into history, life will never be the same as it was.
This is especially true when it comes to business and retail. When the quarantine hit, it forced businesses to make a snap decision on the spot – adapt, or perish. In this case, “adapt” meant transitioning to a variety of digital and online business platforms to enhance or make safer the shopping experience. Since customers were unable or unwilling to go shopping in person, it basically meant the store had to come to them. Logistics and digital marketing became the primary features of business success for months in many regions of the country. In fact, many people have become so accustomed to the efficiency and experience of employee shoppers who deliver goods right to your car and the option to replace out of stock items with an alternative in real time, that they don’t want to go back. Either that, or they want the choice to shop the store, receive curbside service, or to receive same-day in-home delivery, not from a warehouse, but from your local store.
Persistence and white knuckling it have their merit, and there may be more to come in business survival mode. We’re not out of the woods yet. Recent economic forecasts predict that the pandemic will last further into 2021 than originally anticipated due to what is shaping up to be a year-long rollout of the vaccine due to a lack of planning by prior administration officials, but those stores that adapted and innovated quickly under pressure did significantly better than their counterparts who did not. This means that if you are still not fully integrated into the online marketplace, it’s time to commit . As you do, these are some campaign elements to consider:
Have a Well-Designed Website
It might seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many companies get this wrong. The first, and most important, impression your customers have of your company is the design of the layout. Is it easy to use? Does the layout make sense? Is it simple to navigate? Will it display well on a mobile device? Do all of the links and pages work?
These questions are vital for a successful, easy-to-use website, and today, they are also vital for the continued success of your online retail space. If a potential customer visits your site and finds a clunky, confusion interface, it’s pretty safe to say you will never see that customer again. Not only that, but did you know that your google search rankings can be penalized if your site isn’t properly designed and responsive?
Optimize Your Site for Speed and Efficiency
As long as we’re talking about website design, we also need to talk about website functionality. The greatest-looking website in the world will not keep one single customer if it doesn’t work properly. Customers want speed and efficiency; they want pages that load fast and a checkout experience that doesn’t take forever.
In addition to a fast and smooth online experience, it’s important to give your customers a checkout experience that doesn’t make them want to click away. Some websites have a sales funnel that takes forever; screen after screen, step after step, question after question. It’s very frustrating and many customers abandon their cart. Optimize your checkout process to as few clicks, and as few screens as possible.
Improve Your SEO to Include Google Shopping
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and it refers to designing your website and its text in a way that makes your website show up higher on search engine results. There’s a lot to be said about this, but right now we’re going to focus on making sure your website shows up on places like Google shopping. When customers do a search, Google returns a lot of results on its main page, but it shows even more retail-related results on its shopping page. Many customers go straight to Google Shopping to sift through their search results.
If your company and its products aren’t showing up here, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to make sure your site is registered with Google My Business and its other integrated services.
Integrate Social Media Posts with Current Offers
Social media is great, when you do it right. Don’t post just to post. Instead, make sure what you post is relevant to the current offers and promotions of your company. How are customers going to take advantage of your offerings if they don’t know about them?
Offer Rich, Engaging Content
As long as we’re talking about social media, let’s also mention that posting content just for the sake of content is a losing strategy; instead, make sure you post relevant content that invites the audience to engage and respond – surveys, questions, thought-provoking videos: these are the sorts of posts that will make people want to visit your page every day to see what’s new.
Don’t Forget Email
With all of this talk of current, updated technology, it might seem archaic to mention email, but this old dog still has a few tricks up its sleeve. When done right, email can still be an extremely effective marketing tool. To get the most from your campaign, make sure your emails include offers, discounts, brand stories, customer experience successes, and that your messaging is fully integrated with your overall marketing and branding strategy.
Online E-commerce Platforms
In many industries joining a platform for moving your product can be a good idea. Where we are situated, there are still many former sit-down restaurants that are practicing safety with curbside pickup, delivery and traditional takeout models all managed trough Door Dash or competing local and national platforms. Yes, these platforms come with fees, but sometimes going where the herd is going allows you to make more sales, and your menu and website are linked from these customer packed platforms, which can result in further off platform sales.
If you’re still trying to figure out how to make the most out of your digital retail space, or you need to build your ecommerce platform from scratch, you need the help of experts with experience in a digital marketing and branding. Contact us today to get your online presence in order and ready to face the new world.