Have you ever walked into a retail store to promptly make a 180-degree spin and leave? Ignoring the obvious COVID regulations – think back. That store that was “so not what you expected” or hoped that you bolt as quickly to the door as possible. Poor selection. Dirty. Outdated. Poor lighting. Bad smell. Wrong colors. Just a bad vibe. The list goes on. Yep. You know what I am talking about. Never to go back. A “social media” opportunity and topic should anyone ever ask! Ok, while that vision is fresh in your mind – think of a website for a retailer. What happens if you visit a retailer’s website and it feels the same way. Less the actual “bad smell”, what if it just “stinks”? Blurry. Cluttered. Poorly designed. Hodgepodge of all things aesthetic (Hodgepodge a very technical term for no rhyme or reason to anything). No ease of use. Again the list goes on. You “bounce”. You click away! Gone. To never return.
During a recent conversation – I was discussing how retailers need to think about their website as the main showroom of their flagship store. The first and only chance at making that first impression. We know for fact that most (all) customers that may or may not end up on your actual showroom floor started on your website. Undisputed fact. So, in sales basics – the website is top of funnel; the showroom – bottom of funnel. Want more in-store, you get where I am going. Note for clarity – Yes, number of visits to your website matter and a topic for another session(s) so let’s not digress. Those that do go to your site, what if more “stuck around” because your site was AWESOME?!
Here are a few things you need to do to liven things up!
Does it match? Does your website feel like your store? Fonts, colors, logos, products? Think of it this way. Your customers see your physical store. The signage, the front façade. They open the door and they are greeted by all things visual. Stand at your front door. You see it. NOW. Go to your site. Colors consistent to that “physical impression”? Fonts? Signage? Colors? Logos? Are those “main stage” items you have on the showroom floor on the home page of your website? In the omnichannel world – seamless online – in-store experience is part (a lot) of that total engagement. The visual and aesthetic flow is key. It can work the other way. Dealers get a shiny new site that is all things aspirational and future to their brand. They go nuts. New logo. New colors. New products. The consumer is so intrigued they make the trip only to be greeted by old signage and dim lights…. All things to think about. So – make it match to improve your chances.
Merchandise it. Think about the level of attention and care that goes into setting the floor for the big week or weekend. You know the drill. Are you doing the same to your site? You moved the sofa and chairs to the main showroom for a reason. Remember the funnel! Make sure you are doing the same on your website. Homepage. Section pages. Meet them with the same level of preparations as you do you store – with the same frequency!
Frequency. What if you visited your favorite store and it was always the same? (Focusing this point on merchandising of the products you carry). In that point above I mentioned frequency. How often do you shake it up on the floor? Not a complete shuffle, but a new lamp. A clean-up. A new rug or chair. Monthly? Weekly? I bet way more often than you realize. That is the frequency I am talking about. Like the steady beating of a drum you do it to the main showroom floor. Now. Are you doing the same to your site? We touched on making it feel the same (Match) and merchandising the same above; but it also is how often you do little things to spruce it up; just like picking up the water bottle left behind. Touch the site weekly to “straighten it up” if not more! Tap tap tap tap of the drum. Frequency.
Ok. Make it match. Merchandise it. Do it consistently so people notice (Frequency). All fundamentals of keeping your website aligned with your retail business. Bring it “alive”. Not doing any of it. Start today! Start with the areas you can do yourself without help. Then go plan and strategize the rest. It all matters. Remember that store you exited. Make sure your consumers don’t feel that way!