How Online Sales Get New Feet In Your Door
In the previous two articles, we’ve touched on some ways that selling your products online leads to new customers in your store. But here we want to break it down a little more.
Local Customers Use Search
Research from 2014 found that 80% of consumers use search engines to find local products and services. That number isn’t likely to have gone down in the last 2 years. In fact, Forrester Research says that 56% of all purchases made in local businesses have been influenced by some online research. That number is expected to hit 60% in the next 2-4 years.
The bottom line is, today’s consumers are simply less likely to ever walk in your front door unless they can check you out online first.
But how do they check you out if they don’t yet know you exist?
They’re not going to know to search for your business by name, and people in general don’t search for “local store selling __”. Instead, they type the product or service they’re looking for in the search and go from there. And as we discussed in the previous article, the only way your name will pop up in this search is if you have that product for sale somewhere online. Because Google hasn’t yet figured out how to index your offline inventory.
The good news is that once they do discover you via search, 87% will call or visit within 24 hours.
So the number one way selling products online brings new feet through your door is by allowing you to show up when local customers are searching for what you sell.
Online Customers Become Offline Shoppers
Let’s say you have a store through Etsy or ShopOnMain, and you’re making sales. Every order you ship out is an opportunity to brand your business and attract shoppers to your location.
Even if the order is going halfway across the country it has the potential to add to your local business.
- The shopper may be familiar with your area and have friends or family that live in or visit your town.
- The shopper could potentially visit your town herself. This is more likely with a location-based platform like ShopOnMain that highlights your location and attracts people interested in your town, but it’s also possible on any online sales platform.
- More likely, if you provide good service the shopper will leave a positive review about your business and increase your online reputation. This is another thing search engines take into consideration when someone 2 blocks away searches for something you sell.
- If the shopper is anywhere near you they are exponentially more likely to visit your store after establishing a relationship with you.
If it’s allowed by the platform on which you made the sale, be sure you include branding material in every order you ship out. Include information about your business and what makes you unique (tell your story!) and what else you offer that the customer might be interested in.
If you get her contact information, be sure and send her follow-up emails with information she’ll find interesting about her new product. After several information-only emails you can ask her to come back and potentially buy again.
Overcoming Resistance To The Visit
As a business owner, your life is busy. You work long hours and try to pack a lot into each day.
Your potential customers are busy, too. One thing that younger people especially (who grew up with internet access) do to better manage their time is see what a store has for sale right now before going in.
In other words, Sarah wants to buy a pair of jeans and she’s noticed a boutique on her way to work that may have some she’d like. A decade ago, Sarah would just go into the store after work and see what was on the racks. Today, she won’t do that. Now she’ll only go inside if she can access the store online and see that they have a style and size she might want to buy currently in stock. She’s not willing to risk disappointment or the possibility of pushy sales people when her time is tight. Plus, in her mind any store that doesn’t know how to use technology is suspect to begin with.
A growing number of people will literally walk past your store every single day for months and never go inside, just because they can’t check it out online beforehand. And they’re not just checking your inventory – they’re seeing what others are saying about you.
The bottom line is simple: selling products online brings more feet through your door. Are you taking advantage of this fact?