2 vital omnichannel strategies for retailers
It almost goes without saying that modern retail has overtaken physical stores, but a lot has changed since the days when Amazon first appeared on the scene. Consumers today move seamlessly between online and offline, with many complexities online. The most successful retailers can not only compete, but win if they use the following two strategies.
Manage your ads and reputation across all channels
When potential or existing customers try to find you, they will almost certainly do a search. The question is where are they going to look? Your website? Google search? Apple Cards? Find yourself on Instagram? Ad management ensures that you have complete online ads on all major sites and improves your search rankings; you want to show up first when potential customers are looking for what you are offering.
Beyond name, address, and phone number, you need to send menus, photos, and promotions to platforms like Google My Business. According to Yelp, adding more information on average doubles profile views. Rich profiles also improve the ability to convert viewers into buyers when they land on your business profile, providing this dual benefit. Managing your ads can be a tedious task to do manually when you have dozens or hundreds of placements. There are dedicated ad management services and even forward-looking point-of-sale systems that directly manage this through integrations with major local ad providers. List management can be turned into an automated passive activity that “just works” in the background.
Reputation management, the act of creating and monitoring your online reviews, is an equally vital task required to gain new customers. What is the point of having a precise list if it is accompanied by bad reviews? Unsurprisingly, 90% of people look at online reviews before visiting a new business, but what’s even more shocking is that every one-star change in the average online rating will impact revenue up. ‘at 9%. Have a software system that monitors notices on all sites and alerts you to trends that need your attention. Your appointment booking or point-of-sale solution can automatically prompt customers to leave a review. Even if you’ve had a lot of 5-star reviews before, you need to keep up to date because savvy consumers have learned to focus on the latest ones.
Offer the possibility of carrying out transactions through channels
Retailers need to think beyond their website and mobile apps to web search, social media, review sites, digital assistants, texts and instant messaging. These are the channels connecting the modern consumer. While many retailers have done a great job of marketing through these channels, it is more difficult to book and buy from them. Our research indicates that 43% of online appointments are made after hours and 25% of online bookings are through search and social media. Not integrating with Google Reserve or Book through Instagram potentially ignores a quarter of your business, most of which are valuable millennial customers, your future customer base. Modern appointment booking and point-of-sale systems can make it possible to interact and buy from your business across all channels used by your customers.
While it may seem overwhelming to manage your business and customer base across so many different channels, this is exactly where intelligently designed software can give you a competitive edge. Next-generation point-of-sale systems use APIs to connect their systems to the larger business ecosystem to create a truly unified experience for your customers.
-Ethan Anderson, Founder and CEO, My time
Ethan is the Founder and CEO of MyTime, a startup that enables consumers to find and book appointments with over 2.5 million businesses nearby. He is also a mentor for 500 startups and an advisor at Apartment List. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of Redbeacon, which allowed consumers to request offers for home services. Redbeacon has been supported by companies and won numerous awards including the 2009 TechCrunch50 Grand Prize and Business Insider’s Startup 2010 before being acquired by Home Depot. Prior to Redbeacon, Ethan worked at Google as a product manager for image search and Google Video. Ethan has also held several Internet strategy and marketing positions at The Clorox Company, Buy.com and McKinsey & Company. He graduated with honors from Harvard Business School and Magna Cum Laude from Duke University, where he studied economics and public policy studies.