Not so long ago, businesses relied on print advertising to do the heavy lifting to bring customers through their doors. For many years advertising in newspapers and magazines brought customers in on a consistent basis, which is why this kind of advertising lasted for so long. Gradually, as the vastness of the Internet began to convince business owners and corporations that this thing called the Internet is for real. They started to see the advantage of using it today, and how much potential it had for the future.
The Number of Brick and Mortar Stores Is Gradually Fading
The changes that the Internet brought to marketing and advertising show up in all areas of retail and brick-and-mortar stores and shops these days. Most notably is the ongoing reduction in the size and number of retail stores. It seems that large chain stores finally understand that online shopping is here to stay and shops in large malls across America don’t enjoy the zeal they once had. Most American retailers continue to undergo a rapid change to online shopping as they realize this will turn into their primary source of business. With this change, the large chains have no choice but to refocus their attention on another, more viable business model called the internet.
Customer Service Has a New Meaning
Customer service in the most prominent retail chains, for example, is fading into oblivion because every employee knows their days as employees are numbered, at least in their current capacity. Online shopping is ushering in a new kind of customer experience. The days of waiting in long lines for refunds or exchanges are ending, as well as dealing with the frustration of out-of-stock items and store stock availability. Regarding customer service and a smooth buying experience, websites that try to meet the needs of new and informed shoppers must understand the importance of meeting customer’s needs now more than ever before.
New, and frankly, excellent websites from many of the big box retailers and lesser known entities beginning to show their wherewithal understand the need to transition to the online shopping space quickly. Companies large and small, and selling all types of goods and services are wisely making their presence felt online. Familiar enterprises known for their friendly and inviting stores to companies like ACN who offer telecommunications services through their IBOs (independent business owners) and every other business in the middle all seem to have gotten the message to create their online footprint. However, with all websites on the Internet comes the ever-present danger of malware, hackers, and other thieves trying to make a quick buck from someone else’s honest efforts. An example is a claim made by some of an ACN scam that was proven baseless. The point here is to be vigilant about the safety and security of your website, so your customers always enjoy the best of what you have to offer. With that in mind, outlined here are five reasons your business must have an online presence for customers.
1) Immediate and unfettered access to relevant product or service information. When customers shop on your website, have your complete inventory available to them. Colors, sizes, availability, shipping costs, etc. Most online shopping carts have several options available to customize the customer experience.
2) Reviews from other customers. Many companies succeed or fail by the quality of their reviews. Reviews provide a great way to keep companies working hard to keep their customers happy.
3) Contact before or after the sale. Your Internet business never closes, so it makes sense that contacting you should be as easy as filling out the “contact us” section of your website. It’s just as important to set up a way to respond to a customer’s request immediately by sending them an acknowledgment with your promise to reach out to them. Keep that promise!
4) Internal links within your site that take visitors to interesting areas not found anywhere else. In-depth descriptions and user guides for products anyone can find easily. Customers appreciate the transparency, and it serves to build trust in your company and its reputation.
5) One of the most effective ways to turn visitors into customers is by offering them something free as an incentive to provide their contact information on an email newsletter sign-up form. From here, you can begin to build your email list that will eventually grow very large, and so will your repeat business! Always keep the newsletter fresh with mentions of sales and include coupons to help bring more customers into your store, or to increase your online sales directly from your website.
Presenting a pleasant and safe experience for your online customers should remain a priority for as long your website is running. Trust is hard-won in business, and as long as your customers feel confident that you’re offering a quality product or service in a safe and comfortable environment, your business should thrive!