Why don’t people buy from your store? Rather than your product selection, customer service or pricing, the answer may lie in your business’s online presence — or lack thereof.
A recent survey, The Why Before the Buy, explored the factors that influence how consumers shop and decide to make purchases, and found some surprising conclusions. High prices are the number-one reason consumers don’t buy from a business (cited by 61 percent of survey respondents). However, other key reasons consumers decide not to shop at a business include:
- Inconsistent information from one place to the next (37 percent)
- Wrong contact information listed online (32 percent)
- No testimonials, ratings or reviews of the business online (27 percent)
- No photos or videos of the business (17 percent)
In other words, an insufficient online presence could be driving your customers away.
How to Increase Retail Sales?
Start With the Basics
What can you do to put your store top of mind in customer consideration?
1. Make sure your business website is mobile friendly. While consumers use a variety of devices to find businesses to patronize, nearly six in 10 (57 percent) use a mobile device at some point in their search process. Reasons for doing so include getting navigation directions to a business a location, looking for businesses that are close to the person’s current location, and a click-to-call feature.
2. Make sure your basic business information is complete and accurate everywhere your business is online. From the home page of your website to your listings on ratings and review sites or local search directories, every detail of your business listing needs to be accurate. Regularly check your listings to make sure your phone number, address, and hours are current. Beyond being accurate, this information also needs to be uniform. In other words, don’t list your business address as 12 Hudson St. on one directory and 12 Hudson Street on another. This can confuse search engines and lower your businesses visibility in search results.
Take it Up a Notch
Consumers use two different kinds of information when researching businesses, the study explains. So far, we’ve covered primary information, which includes price, product availability, location and customer service. However, there’s also secondary information, which includes offers, testimonials, ratings, recommendations, photos and videos.
Both are important, but nearly half (48 percent) of consumers make their buying decisions based on secondary information. What’s more, those consumers spend an average of two times as much with a business as those who rely only on primary information. Here are two steps you can take to provide more secondary information (and get more of those big spenders into your store):
1. Think visual. Let’s face it: Images grab attention. More than that, photos or videos of your store can give customers a sense of its feel and flavor. Is your gift shop filled with charming country crafts, or high-end modern tchotchkes? A photo can convey the difference at a glance. Regularly changing and updating photos on your website and directory listings also counts as adding new content, which will boost your search engine results.
2. Encourage customer ratings and reviews of your business. List your business on all relevant rating and review sites, such as Yelp, industry-specific or city-specific sites. Once you get customer reviews, share them on your business website and in your other marketing materials. Ask customers if you can use their words as testimonials in print or digital marketing.
Build Your Digital Presence
Your online presence is essential to your store’s success. As the study concludes: “A strong digital presence is critical to connecting local businesses with consumers wherever they are, on whatever device they’re using. Businesses are missing out on opportunities if they don’t offer basic information [online].”
Salvation Army Photo via Shutterstock