It’s clear that being online is crucial for independent retailers. The average person in the US spends 32 hours a month on the internet. To reach your customers, you have to be where they are. But as a small business owner, you are likely intimidated by the time and technical skills needed to maintain a solid web presence. Have no fear! We’ve nailed down the basics of what you do and don’t need for a shopper-friendly online experience.
Do I need an e-commerce store?
A common misconception is thinking you have to build an e-commerce store for the best online engagement. In reality, managing an online store is an expensive and time-consuming task that isn’t the right fit for everyone. It’s nearly impossible to compete with the advertising budgets of major retailers like Amazon and your boutique e-commerce site may not generate the volume of sales to make it worthwile. But here’s the good news: about 90% of sales still happen offline. A better solution for indie retailers is to focus on utilizing online marketing to reach local customers and drive foot traffic back into your store. This is entirely possible to do effectively with very little time or technical skills.
- Your website should function as a preview of your storefront. Here are a few simple tips:
- Attract customers by providing basic information including your store location, hours of operation, and contact information.
- Give your site character and make it personal by telling your unique story and explaining what shoppers can expect when they visit your store.
- Share photos of new merchandise to attract sales and keep your site fresh and up to date.
- Use a platform that makes your website mobile friendly so shoppers can browse your merchandise on desktop, tablets and mobile devices.
Otra Vez Couture Consignment’s website
Use popular social media sites to engage with shoppers online. Here are some basics to get your started:
- Develop a relationship with them by asking questions and be sure to keep them updated with the latest news about your store.
- Share photos of your new arrivals regularly – shoppers who like your page are looking for this information! Letting your shoppers know online about your newly arriving merchandise will provide the extra push they need to plan a visit to your store.
- Post often to remain top of mind. We recommend you set a goal to post at least 1-3 times per day to maximize engagement.
If you haven’t set up your social media accounts yet, here are some links to guide you through the process:
Grow Your Audience
A common question we receive is how to grow your audience after you’re all set up online. There are a couple important guidelines to attracting and retaining your customers online.
- You must stay active online. Deliver relevant content on a consistent basis to keep shoppers coming back. As a boutique, the best way to do this is by promoting your merchandise and special events.
- Promote your online activities across all your online platforms. Be sure to catch your shoppers on whatever online site they are browsing.
- Tell shoppers offline where they can find you online. Add your website to business cards and promotional materials. Chat with your loyal customers in store to let them know where they can find you to stay in the know.
Ready to get started? We would love to help! Boutique Window is aimed at helping independent retailers reach customers online to drive more foot traffic into their store. You can even use your Boutique Window as your website. Request a demo or sign up for a 15 day free trial.