We all know that sticks and straw can’t hold together a business. But these days, when many retail giants have no stores, can you really just rely on bricks and mortar?
We’re not saying you need to take a sledgehammer to your store. Even the greatest of computer programs can’t replace the experiences you provide there, so don’t panic. But to do the best by your customers and your business, you need to take some things into consideration….
Consumer Need: To touch, taste, and experience your product
If you’re trying to sell a product like food or wine, you are selling a sensory experience: there is an obvious desire to taste and smell the product before purchase. With clothes, many people want to feel the fabric, or try the piece on for size. Especially with perfume, it’s very difficult to make a decision outside of store hours. If you are selling something that is all about the sensory, whether it be taste, smell, or feel, keep that in mind when designing your webstore. How can you best convey the experience of the sensory through web design? There may be no actual taste and touch here, but you can at least sell the anticipation of these sensations.
WINNER: It’s a tie between bricks-and-mortar and online here. Next round…
Retailer Need: To increase the total amount of product sold
With an online store, your store hours change drastically. You are never closed, even on public holidays like Christmas. With the right guidance, increased hours can mean increased sales. But what about upselling? Online, there are no trained staff to coerce your clients into a higher price bracket. But with a carefully designed website, much the same thing can be achieved. Upselling online, when done well, can be almost undetectable.
Customer Need: To get your product intact and on time
Absolutely nobody wants to lose something they’ve already paid for, or to find it broken when they finally open up the box. Customers won’t blame you if they trip over and drop your product, but if a breakage happens en route, you’re in trouble. The foibles of a courier service can damage your own reputation. If the courier service runs behind schedule, you’re in trouble too…
Retailer Need: To fully communicate the “essence” of the business
Retailers without the skills to make their own website often turn to generic, stock-standard websites that fail to match the quality of the products they purvey. Afterall, most business owners didn’t major in web design at college. Without the digital know-how that Dando provides, most are stuck with these boring and ultimately limiting web tools.
WINNER: Bricks-and-Mortar. But we can change that…
Customers Need: Convenience
Say you’ve got an important dinner party in two weeks. Perhaps you’re entertaining a group of people you need to impress: clients, associates, function guests. There is little to no chance that you have the time to hop in the car to inspect the goods you need for this late-minute party. Perhaps your customers don’t own a car, or won’t drive long distances. Enough said: online is simply more convenient for these customers. And there are a lot of these customers. But having no time to visit can quickly transition into “no time to wait for delivery”.
Retailer Need: Increased profit margins
The set-up costs of a new storefront- not to mention rent and utilities- will dwarf that of a new online store. But that’s not all: online stores can reduce your reliance on third-party retailers, who would normally be taking a hefty cut of your sales. Even when postage is added in, you’re still far ahead of a business that uses only brick-and-mortar sales. That is ensuring that your online store draws people in, rather than scaring them away…
Customer Need: The ability to compare prices
The consumer always wants the best deal. You need to be aware that your customers will shop around. Many customers will choose to first review prices online before coming in store. Here, both models work in harmony, and the necessity of having an online store is revealed: if you didn’t list your prices online, perhaps you won’t even be considered by potential customers. It also highlights both a need to stay abreast of competitors’ pricing, and to make sure that consumers are aware of any differences between in-store and online costs. In this complicated situation, we can help you put your best foot (and prices) forward.
WINNER: Online, but you can’t have one without the other.
Retailer Need: To take customers directly to a point-of-sale
Many retailers suffer at the hands of their remote locations. You’re a business, but you’re not in the CBD: you might be one hundred kilometres away from your consumers most of the time. This means that your billboard- even placed amidst the heaviest traffic, or in the most central of locations- doesn’t actually bring your consumers to you. It gives them the idea of visiting you, and that visit may be stuck at the bottom of a to-do list for months. It’s not fair on you. That’s why you need digital marketing, to bring your consumers directly from advertisement to point-of-sale in a way that a billboard, or a spot in a magazine never could. Don’t think it will bring down your visitor numbers, though! A visit will be all the more likely if they like what they see, buy, or find at the top of their Google search results.
And the winner is….
Ok, as you can see, online clearly delivers more benefits to consumer and retailers. But, as we’ve already said, you can’t just abandon your winery: bricks-and-mortar is essential to you and your customers. But you need to realise that online is essential, too. And if your website it poorly designed, hard to use, or unattractive, you miss out on this highly important business component. To make sure you’re up to speed, download Edition #2 of Dando Insights. You can’t afford to miss out on the benefits.
T. Izawa & S. Hijkata, (1970 Grosset & Dunlap- New York)