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#5.06: The “Online to Retail” Issue

Your website doesn’t have to complete every sale. Send them to your retail store for a cash register boost.

1> Product Pick-Up
2> Fake Friends and Fictitious Family
3> Locate Your Store Locator
4> Check It Out: Your Own Personal Audio Advisor

1> Product Pick-Up

Millions use the Internet as a convenient way to window shop, but some feel a little bit uneasy completing the transaction online. Offering the option to order online and pick it up at your store will increase the chances of a sale from these customers. That way buyers know they can examine the product in person to make sure it’s what they want. Plus, neither of you have to deal with the hassle or expense of shipping, and the product is in the customer’s hands faster than overnight shipping. Best of all, most retailers who use this tactic find that most buyers end up buying additional merchandise when they are in the store. Circuit City and REI make it a featured function; Barnes and Noble make it even better with same-day delivery by local courier services.

THE LESSON: Give your customers more options when they shop online – every little choice turns another looker into a buyer.

2> Fake Friends and Fictitious Family

Have you received one of those emails from a buddy, with a coupon for The Gap, J Crew or some other retailer that offers a “secret discount only for friends and families of employees?” These promos drive customers into retail stores by the bucketful. There’s actually nothing secret about these. Companies put them out knowing that the power of viral marketing will spread them across the Internet. Everyone likes an inside tip or a VIP deal. On top of that, emails from a friend get a much stronger response. To make your own “secret” discount even more successful, add a step: Send people a link to a webpage instead of just mailing them the coupon. Once you have them on the page, ask them to sign up for future discounts. It gives away the secret — but watch your database grow!

THE LESSON: Don’t wait to get lucky with viral marketing — spark your own word-of-mouth campaign with an enticing secret email.

3> Locate Your Store Locator

How can someone find your store if they can’t find your store locator page? According to research from usability gurus Nielsen Norman Group, customers fail to find what they want in a web-based store locator 37% of the time — which means they aren’t shopping! Pay attention to this simple function. Don’t bury your store locator. Make it as easy as possible to use. Include driving directions. Test it well. On top of that, be sure you display a proper address and phone number on your contact page. How else can people call to find out where to shop? If you want a full-service interactive locator, extremely effective ones can be rented from MapQuest (and others) that plug right into your site.

THE LESSON: People want to find you. Be sure your web site makes it easier.


4> Check It Out: Your Own Personal Audio Advisor

Are you sick of your music? Do you want something new? AudioScrobbler will help you out with those “same old song blues.”

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