Are Bricks Missing Out On Clicks?

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It seems that there is growing evidence retailers who are slow to go online could be making a costly mistake as shoppers head to overseas websites for greater choice and convenience. A new study by Forrester Research has shown some 56% of Australians buy something online every month. And some of these overseas retailers are saying Australia is now their biggest market outside their home country – to the point where they are beginning to launch Australian versions of their sites, and are opening return centres in Australia to save shoppers the cost of international postage on returned items.

If you’re a bricks and mortar retailer without an online presence you can’t afford to snooze any longer. Competition is heating up and it was reported this month well-known Asian players are launching English-language websites.

I’ve written before about retailers lobbying government asking for greater protection from losses they’re incurring due to online shopping but this really misses the point – and a terrific opportunity.

Getting a website up and running doesn’t have to be a costly affair and can be a simple ecommerce WordPress site easily updatable. A VA can set you up within a day.

And don’t overlook Facebook. Many over-25s cringe at the very word. But statistics show that nearly 70% of the people around you are part of what’s become known as The Global Mall (aka Facebook), spending lots of time in there every day. Facebook management have recognised this trend and the growing potential of Facebook as a huge online shopping mall and have made some serious changes in the last few months making the site more geared towards businesses connecting and engaging with people around them – locally and more broadly.

One small business recently discovered the potential of getting a business page on Facebook for herself. She runs a ‘recycled clothing’ bricks and mortar store in Sydney. She finally got her business page up on Facebook and within a few short days she had comments on her page from people not only interested in using her online purchasing facility for her clothing, but were also talking about dropping in, asking questions, and opportunities were opening up for her to have wine and cheese nights, fashion parades etc that she had not thought of before. In addition, she expanded her reach to potential customers as far away as Mackay.

Naturally some products are better seen and held, and people like to meet and get to know the retailer in person to discuss their purchase. But other products – even some offered by the same store – are just as easily suited to online.

Barry James of Angel Revolutions, a UK-based company specialising in the new marketing and creators of enabling technology for businesses, believes it’s no longer an either/or proposition – but that bricks and mortar businesses really should have an online business running in tandem. “The tools and facilities are available and eminently affordable to use online to both build awareness and trust and get those folks through your doors – and keep them coming back”, he said.

More and more businesses are spending their advertising dollars on online brand awareness, Google rankings and online listings. Not surprising since more and more people are actually searching for goods and services online – and with the rise of smartphones if your business doesn’t have an online presence you’re missing out on a LOT of potential customers. People want information immediately, and when they’re searching for something they need they’ll go online to get it.

Barry says “By replacing some of a business’s existing spend on traditional forms of paper-based advertising and getting into The Global Mall, a business can yield a much higher ROI on their advertising spend – in many cases five to ten times more.”

If you want to explore getting your business on Facebook we have a new service available for just US$199. This gets your business onto Facebook with a dynamic information page branded for your business, the initial required 25 fans, and your ‘vanity URL’ (ie easily-remembered Facebook URL). Contact us to find out more.

 

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop – www.execstress.com

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