Everything has gone online, and there’s no reason your business shouldn’t too. One of the major impediments facing businesses looking to establish a market on the internet is the erroneous belief that somehow physical stores and online stores cannot co-exist.
Many believe that there will be too many clashes to make it work, while some believe that it just isn’t possible to find the time to run both. For some, they see no benefit in running both enterprises at the same time.
Well, we’re here to tell you that not only are these outlooks on the topic just wrong, but they may also be severely detrimental to the future growth and sustainability of your business.
Below we take a look at some of the reasons why you should complement your physical stores with a strong online presence, and most importantly, we show you how to pull this off seamlessly and perfectly.
Why You Should Use Online Features to Complement Physical Stores
The simplest and most direct reason to use online features along with your physical store is that it helps you make more sales. We can sugarcoat it how we like, but the truth is both physical stores and online stores have their own sets of customers.
By focusing on one alone without the other, you are actively excluding a whole set of new customers capable of boosting your sales by a huge margin. Of course, the only tangible argument against running both forms of stores is the time it takes to manage both effectively.
Thankfully, this can be solved by efficient time management, or finding an expert to help handle one aspect or another. Eventually, it will be more than worth it.
They Work Well Together
At BusinessDirectory.com, we always recommend running both a physical and online store because they actually work hand in hand.
When you think about it, one of the biggest appeals of online stores is that people can take their time to browse what they want, see clear prices and other related products, without feeling in a hurry. And of course, the delivery straight to one’s door.
With physical stores, on the other hand, the appeal is the ability to feel the product and maybe even test it. Well, there’s no reason why both can’t complement each other.
In numerous scenarios, customers have been known to check out a product online and then make the purchase offline. And of course, some do physical inspections offline before making purchases online.
As a business owner, it is up to you to make both methods available.
Your Competitors are Doing It
The ease and convenience customers get from being able to make use of both online and physical stores to obtain their products is a big enough appeal to draw customers away from one business and the other.
So guess what, even if you feel like you have nothing to gain by doing it, the very fact that your competitors are also doing it, means that you automatically have something to lose.
Ultimately, if you have what it takes to complement your physical store with an online one, then there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t.
Answer Queries Quick
By complementing both of these store types, you’re also able to answer queries quickly. How is that so? Well consider a scenario where a customer has a question, but they can’t make the journey to your physical store.
In today’s world where people prefer to chat than make a call, having an online store gives them a direct line to browse frequently asked questions, and have a chat with one of your customer service representatives if they so please.
To take advantage of all of the benefits above, you need to incorporate some notable features. Some of the most important of these include:
By having an in-depth showcase feature on your online store, you’re able to give customers something similar to the feeling they get with a physical store.
Now of course, there’s absolutely no way you can fully replace the feeling of physical inspection, but with an in-depth showcase feature on your products, you give customers absolute control over their inspection than they would have should they carry out an actual physical one.
All that it takes is for them to move a mouse and they’re able to check all angles of the product in question without anyone looking over their shoulders.
Dynamic recommendation is a tool that plays a handful of key roles in boosting your business and helping you grow. First of all, dynamic recommendations keep people on your page, which is great for business.
Secondly, it keeps them excited, always guessing for what’s going to come next. And third, and most importantly, it helps them get what they’re looking for even when they don’t necessarily know what that is.
And of course, ultimately, all of these result in them buying more, boosting your sales and helping your business grow tremendously.
After Sale Follow Up
Online stores also allow you to run a seamless follow up routine after sales. Customers are less willing to offer personal information or any contact information when buying in physical stores.
Online, however, people are more used to providing information and having people check up on them. You can also take advantage of ethical retargeting practices to get customers to return and make more purchases.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have a free-for-all license to be overly aggressive with your follow up. But when done right, online store purchases give you a more direct path to checking up on your customers and retargeting them once initial purchase is complete.
Lastly, online stores give you a straightforward avenue to take advantage of referral programs. Studies have shown that referral sales convert almost 5 times more than any other form.
An online store makes it easy to run a direct referral program wherein your customers are rewarded for bringing in more people. Once they make a successful purchase, the referral reward is given out, and the new customers can then in turn refer more people of their own and also earn rewards along the way.