Another fantastic Vegas Market! As with every market, conversations with great people to digest, reflect on – and act.
A hot topic yet again, “How do I “do” online“? Traditional retailers continue to struggle with this, what “it” is – and how “it” needs or should be part of their business model. After-all – there is no longer the traditional “online” and “offline” channels of past. Retail today – for today’s consumer – it is “channel-less” or channel agnostic (Big and fancy – Omnichannel). Retailers need to be ready to equally engage – wherever the customer chooses (allows) that engagement to happen. So back to the website.
The pure power of in-stock!
Ask any dealer, “What sets your website apart from the others?”. Based on answers from all angles – you will quickly notice that not many dealers really have a strategic “purpose” for their website. They “have” a website – that, to most – is it. I will challenge that to most retailers – their “website” has nothing to do to how they want to operate. Yes, they have a site. Yes, it shows products, hours, locations. Yes, it has a Facebook icon. And yes, maybe it is even better looking than most (maybe). But – does it fit the strategy? (“You need to be doing ecommerce” is not a strategy! It is part of a bigger picture. Save that topic for later). I feel that most dealers have taken a page from “what everyone else is doing” playbook and are now following the herd. Look at 10 sites in our industry. Look at the products. Look look look. See what I am getting at… ? Here is a little exercise – Have you searched for a product in Google lately? Take a minute and search for a product of which you have dedicated extremely valuable space for on your showroom floor. That chair or sofa that is front and center to your physical location. Google it. Google it a couple different ways. What do you find? (IMPORTANT TIP– make sure you do this little search exercise on a computer that is not logged into your Gmail account and you better be incognito when doing this test. Because your computer knows “you” and guess what – it knows you are on your site a lot – thus you must “like” it…). Done with the exercise – what did you find out? Keep that experience “fresh” in your mind as we continue.
As a retailer – how do you make the most profitable “dollars”? Turning inventory. Maximizing infrastructure. That is retail. I propose you need to maximize turn, and all things must support that unwavering focus – including your website. Setting aside that enlightening search “exercise” for a moment – does your website help you maximize your profitable dollars? Does it focus on moving inventoried goods in your business..Those actual sticks in the warehouse? Does selling a lamp on your website – which you ship direct, really move the needle for your current retail model and strategy?
4-Steps to point your website in the right direction!
Step 1 – Focus your product offering. BOPIS. Not that you are a “buy online pick-up in-store” model (maybe not yet. Hint) … But you have stocked products that need to move. Move them. Unless your site calls out “in-stock”, “on-display” – you are missing out on that consumer. You. Seriously. Visited Amazon lately? We are all groomed by it. We ignore non-Prime. Why? Because we want it tomorrow. Heck, I hear a drone – here comes my sofa. Isn’t it much more important to capture the consumer that wants to purchase what you already have right there, in-stock? Capitalize on that impulse? Capture that I can have it now mindset? Absolutely! In-stock On-Display!
Step 2 – Once you maximize Step 1; I mean really focus the product offerings front and center on in-stock items only; clearing all the other clutter and noise – then and only then do I suggest filling in the gaps where you are super-duper strong (yes, a very sophisticated technical term). This DOES NOT mean blindly adding all the products from a vendor because you have a nice and persistent Rep (Unless of course you are exclusive or very lucky to be the only one with that line within a respectable area). What I mean is find segments or offerings that you can proudly affirm “we are the strongest dealer of (insert) in the area”. It could be dining tables. It could be upholstered benches. Think “Collections”. It is something – but it is focused! It also better correlate to the stocked items from Step 1 above. If your showroom is full of sofas and chairs – and your website screams “mattress mattress mattress”; and the visitor comes in and finds 2 mattresses and is blindsided by a sea of sofas… you missed the point. Fill in the gaps where you are naturally “strong” and “proud”. That is Step 2.
Step 3 – Slowly open the faucet by adding items beyond Step 2. Again, slow. Focused. Deliberate. And no skipping ahead. It is a step program for a reason. Don’t be drawn to the light! Look at all the others that are/were. Create your own light. Step 1, done. Step 2 selectively and thoroughly mastered. Now – find complimentary products to the items you have as part of Step 1 and Step 2. Accessorize. Maybe rugs. Maybe another vendor with a different style of the same category. But again controlled. Not a deluge of catalog. Think enhanced offerings! Avoid the easy temptation to “add it all“! You have come so far. Don’t quit on me now!
Step 4 – Go nuts! Guess what – I am confident the 3 steps above have already naturally allowed this to happen – the right way!
As a consumer we have fallen in love with the notion of endless selections. As business leaders we equate that to a need for an “endless aisle”. However, for most that is counter to how we operate and the health of our retail business today. Focus, evolve, change. Follow the steps.
- Step 1 – In Stock – On Display
- Step 2 – Depth to stocked products
- Step 3 – Variety and Complimentary to Step 1 and Step 2
And finally, please – go “profitably” nuts!