For a business to grow it must consistently reach new customers and communicate effectively with existing ones. If you have a physical storefront you’ve probably realized these two requirements for growth are not easily achieved. Creating an eCommerce website allows a retail store to break-through the limitations a physical location presents, while increasing sales of its products.
4 Reasons an eCommerce Website is Necessary to Grow Your Store:
1. Collect lead and customer data for email marketing.
We know it’s tough to collect email addresses and other useful information during checkout in your store. Shoppers at the finish line of making a purchase will normally decide not to extend the process by providing info for the clerk to plug-in regardless of the offer. Gathering information online is much more effective as website visitors can do this on their own time.
Take into consideration the fact that you only have the opportunity to speak to someone making a purchase, leaving out all prospective customers who leave without a bag in their hand – collecting leads online is a more effective method.
Email marketing gives you the ability to increase new and repeat business by strategically and continuously re-engaging prospective customers. This opportunity doesn’t exist for businesses strictly running a physical storefront. You'll also need to develop ways to capture email addresses with various offers your website can provide.
2. Reach new prospective customers through search engines.
A large factor in a physical store's success derives from location. If you’re not in a good one the visibility of the store is lessened. Having an eCommerce website levels the playing field between prime locations and less trafficked areas. Instead of your physical address determining your business’s location, your ability to rank in searches engines determines how visible you are. Potential customers who haven’t driven past your stores or heard about your from someone else, have the ability to find you online. Everyday someone is searching for something relevant to your stores products and eCommerce site gives you the ability to get found by and sell your products to them directly through the web.
3. Increase visibility of store promotions.
Every store has certain promotions and are always looking for ways to spread the word about their newest deals. Your eCommerce store is another avenue to market your special promotions. These promotions are also a great way to execute on the first point of this post, collecting email addresses. Visitors to either one of your stores (online and offline) should be exposed to these promotions so they can take advantage of them. Promotions help the business grow shor- term with increased sales and long-term since promotions typically include a sign-up step - giving you the ability to reach out to these people later for repeat business.
4. Allow prospective customers to shop where, how, and when they want.
If you only have one way people can shop for your products you’re missing out on the percentage of shoppers who prefer to (and sometimes are only willing to) shop the alternate way.
Many people like to shop online to avoid traveling time and traffic while enjoying the comfort of their own home. Shopping online also gives them the ability to shop when they want; including times that your store is closed. Remember, your eCommerce store is ALWAYS open. Regardless of an individual's reasons, more and more people are turning online to get shopping done.
Others prefer to drive to the physical store so they can touch and examine the products. Even if they found your store online and researched your products in more detail, they may decide to make the commute to the store in order to make the purchase.
The advantages of one store will counter the disadvantages of the other which allows store owners to cover all of their bases and eliminate the possibility of these disadvantages affecting their sales numbers.
To learn more about the benefits of have both an online and offline location, also known as "click and mortar", and how the two can work together please register for our "click and mortar" webinar .
Photo credit: aota.org