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On-line marketing is a big thing. That's the problem, isn't it?
Finding time. It's tough.
For a regular SME, it is really demanding to just find the time to run the business as it is - let alone finding time to get across a whole new way of doing business. The difficulty here is that selling grows from the ground up for most SME's, and the idea of having to learn 'selling' all over again (and in a quite different way) is an unwelcome challenge.
Everything Old Is New Again
Last month, Management Memos examined the nature of the purchase path for on-line customers. When you're used to selling face-to-face, the notion of a 'purchase path' seems quite strange.
It is easier if you and your staff have had proper training in the work of selling. Proper training involves more than just how to 'close' a sale, or how to catch a prospect. It involves considering the whole purchase journey your shopper makes. This goes from being a showroom visitor, to becoming a sales lead, and then all the way through to becoming a satisfied advocate for your store/showroom/service department.
Recognising that every sale means taking your buyer going on this purchase journey, can be a big help for you to see how 'the purchase path' works out in the on-line world. Notice that we have talked in the past about the 'purchase journey' in the traditional sales training, and now we talk about the 'purchase path' in on-line selling.
See how it gels together? We're discussing the 'purchase journey' for face-to-face sales in store, and the 'purchase path' for selling on line.
It's the same challenge - it just works a bit differently. Once you see that, we can get started!
A 'Need' Is Not Much Use - Turn It Into A 'Demand'
Your prospect's purchase path starts with an unmet need. You probably know the kinds of prospective customers who do need your product or service. But how do you convert that need into a demand?
There's a bit of cute language here. It is clear what we mean when we say that a typical sales prospect has a 'need' - that they 'need' what you have to sell. But that 'need' has no economic significance at all until it has become a 'demand' - that is, until someone is prepared to spend money to buy your product or service to satisfy that need.
Turning a 'need' into a 'demand' is one of the roles of advertising. One way advertising does that is to encourage someone (who has that need) to explore suppliers like you to see who can best meet that need.
Once the prospect is in your shop or showroom, you can take them on the purchase journey until they're convinced that your offer is the one. They are them prepared to spend money, and hey presto, there is a demand! Very traditional. Very well known. Very predictable. Well understood.
Carry The Old Into The New
Now crossover to the internet, and the virtual visitor to your store or showroom. Your advertising has brought you a virtual visitor to your website (or app if you're very with it!)
Think about how you deal with a store visitor. Does your website treat your web-visitor prospect in that self-same way? Probably not! If you've had a website built by a web designer, it's probably more an electronic catalogue that tells people how long you've been in business and how expert you are.
Selling like that is like having a store but no staff. An automatic check out to get the cash, while the poor customer tries their level best to understand what is best for them. You wouldn't do that in store - so why do that on your website?
It doesn't have to be that way! You know from long years of experience what your customers need to know to convince them the spend with you. So put that on your website.
Let those prospects follow the conversation you would be having with them if they were in your store, by following it on your website.
Make Your Website So It Works For You
Given that we’re operating in a highly competitive retail landscape, your website needs to provide a personalised, relevant and seamlessly integrated shopping experience, between computer, tablet, phone - and crucially, in store as well.
Now you have had your virtual visitor look at your range, follow your sales pitch and check your price, it's time to offer the closing 'kicker'. Now's the time to suggest other add-ons or complementary products through your shopping cart.
The purchase path you create for your prospect is built from your knowledge of your business and your customers. So make your web site and web shop show just that!
You've given your advertising designers a hard time for years. Now it's time to give your web designers the same kind of hard time to get you a website that really sells.
First, fully understand your customers' purchase journey
Second, Interpret that as your buyer's purchase path on the internet
Third, make sure your web site (it's a web shop - it's e-commerce enabled, right?) reflects the purchase path you take your customers on through your store.
We can help you see your strategic strong points, protect your strategic weak points, and win on the digital sales front. And then you can just hang up. NSA!
Phone us (see the numbers below) or use the contact form here to get help. Absolutely obligation free.
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Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.