New York, NY—You’ve already heard this news: shoppers are no longer shopping in retail stores.
They’re still buying in retail stores, but not shopping. The grocery industry has reported that customers are shopping less often, running in with a plan and sticking to their lists. Luxury goods buyers are soothing their insomnia with midnight product hunts, and visiting the stores that most entice them with an engaging online presence. Retail sales are expected to rebound by the end of 2020 – not to pre-pandemic levels, but improvement is still good! But will you be getting your share of those transactions?
It all comes down to your website, and how well you leverage that website for an online/offline shopping experience.
If your website is a static presentation of the same products everyone else is carrying, then the only thing customers will use to compare you with your competition is price – and nobody wants to compete on price. So from the moment that middle-of-the-night (or bored-at-the-office) shopper lands on your site, you need to engage them with an immersive experience that tells them all about your store, what makes you special, and why they should shop with you. Your website should be peppered with testimonials and ratings to help build trust. And you should give them something to do.
One of the best ways to engage your customers is to give them a rich product searching, filtering, saving, sharing, and collection-building experience. When you make it easy and playful to sort through your product catalog, save favorites, and build lists of things to return to, you encourage customers to make an emotional (and time!) investment in your site. The longer they spend, the more likely they are to remember who you are, and the more likely they are to leave you an email address so you can communicate with them later. At the very least, make sure your website offers the option to mark products as favorites and allows visitors to build wish lists.
Video conferencing for B2C wasn’t on anyone’s radar in February of 2020, but today it’s completely acceptable to consumers to get started with a conference call. So encourage visitors to set an online appointment with you! Make your calendar available through a calendar app, link to your Zoom or GoToMeeting Account, and have meetings lined up for you when you open the store the next day. Video conferencing allows you to start building relationships, qualify customers, and show them live or on-screen products. Video conferencing even has some advantages. Many people are uncomfortable submitting themselves to an experience of being sold to. But a video conversation can give them a sense of place and control, allowing you to present your company and your products to someone who may have never entered the store otherwise. Once you start having a conversation, and they see how fun you are and how interesting and beautiful your products are, they’ll forget they were ever hesitant. Top image: a Zoom sales consultation.
The trend of consumers moving their shopping behavior online has been happening for a long time, and the pandemic accelerated it. There will be a post-pandemic return to physical shopping, but we don’t know when that will be, and many of these new shopping habits are likely to last. So it’s time to invest in creative and entertaining ways to attract shoppers, or you won’t get the opportunity to turn them into buyers.
VDB (Virtual Diamond Boutique)’s extensive jewelry marketplace was designed with consumer engagement in mind. When you integrate or white label VDB’s marketplace and app, you gain a suite of online and instore selling tools that provide the kind of engagement discussed in this article. For information, visit www.vdbapp.com or contact Holly Mui, email@example.com.