Think Like Retailers
Imagine the following:
But as with many businesses’ sites, at the end of the quarter, sales haven’t increased. What happened? You just created a beautiful new web site.Your web address is featured on all your marketing materials. You hire a company to register your web address with all the search engines, and to make sure your site will rank high enough to appear on the first page, if not the first one or two results of a search. And you get hits, a trickle at first, and then hundreds. You feel great. Your new marketing effort is a huge success!
It’s easy to explain. You got people interested in your business, and then left them on their own
to figure out why they should buy it. “What’s wrong with that?” You have to think like a retailer!
Think like Retailers
Retailers are really very simple to understand. They have a single focus: Sell more stuff! So they make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy.
Visit a major retailer’s website. Products are grouped by the way buyers expect to find them. New items or products on “sale” are on home page, readily visible. Pages and links tell you where you are, and where to go. Prices are clearly visible.
Your web site did part of the job. It generated interest by displaying your work. But you missed the most important ingredient: You didn’t feature your work as finished products or displays, or make it easy to buy. You sent potential buyers off with a good impression, but most of them changed
their minds. They got interested in another business, or maybe they just simply found it difficult to decide between several. Whatever the reason, the person that left your web site intending to buy from you ended up not buying. You didn’t capitalize on the buying impulse, and you lost a potential client!
So what do you do? Well, let’s start by taking a look at your web site.
Your Web Site is Your Studio Showroom
Your web site is just like a showroom. In fact, it’s better because it can accommodate more traffic than your business. And you get to show off you products even when your
business is closed. But instead of thinking like a manufacturer, think like a retailer and make it easy for potential clients to contact you, or to book an appointment at your web site.
Most owners believe that displaying photographs, and providing their phone number and having a Contact Us link is enough to motivate people to buy. While this is important, it’s weak compared to successful retail sites.
Research shows that when you give consumers lots of buying options, it builds trust that result in more purchases.
Web Site Best Practices
Below are some best practices that will help you think like a retailer:
Treat your web site like a store, not simply a product gallery. Show products, and feature them on your home page. Visitors who go to your site are already sold on your product; they are looking for the right business. Make the primary job of your web site to SELL PRODUCTS!
• Make it easy to get answers. A Web site where the products are two and three levels down is not going to generate lots of sales. And the practice of intentionally withholding important information about pricing, scheduling, and order delivery in with the hope people to call your studio to get it should be abandoned. This is sometimes referred to as the “Salmon Theory of Marketing,” in which only the
consumers who are hardy and persistent enough to swim all the way upstream to get answers to their questions.
• Make it easy to buy. Put “Book Now” buttons everywhere you show a product. Studies show that 46% of people go to a web site to buy. Don’t make visitors search for a place to make an appointment; let them contact you or book an appointment at any point they want.
• Always show price. If you measure what visitors do at your Web site, you might have noticed that not showing price generates more clicks. However, a large number of clicks may be misleading. Visitors might very well be clicking all over the place trying to figure out how much your products costs, only to get frustrated and give up. Research that tracks actual sales has shown that product web pages that show price are three to four times more likely to result in a sale.
• Prominently display new or featured products. Don’t expect that visitors will keep checking your web site to see what has changed. Make it obvious. If you have a hot new product or a special sale going on, let them know, preferably right on the home page.
Take a Field Trip
If you’re still in a quandary for ideas on how to sell, head out to a large retail store and take a look around. Almost everything you can see has been done with a specific purpose in mind: to make it easier for shoppers to find and buy products. Then, when you go back to your business, take a look at your web site and see how it measures up. You may find that much of what your retail partners are doing to sell products in their online or local stores can help you boost your sales if you will simply “think like a retailer”!
If you want help, or would like to discuss a program that includes all the materials you will need, contact me.