If you're an online etailer or a traditional store or both, you've got to address a litany of reasons why consumers prefer shopping online vs. in stores. If you're an etailer, it means capitalizing on these reasons. If you have a store, it means combating them. Either way, they can't be ignored.
#1: Consumers believe they get the best prices and deals online.
Capitalize on it: Reinforce your deals and prices in emails, on your site, in search, etc.
Combat it: Prove to the consumers that your stores have great deals too.
#2: Consumers like shopping from home.
Capitalize on it: Every chance you get, pound away at this convenience.
Combat it: Let 'em know that they can order online and pickup in the store – the best of both worlds.
#3: There are no crowds to avoid online.
Capitalize on it: Show long lines of people waiting to pay in stores.
Combat it: Let them know the best time to shop when there aren't crowds.
#4: There's better inventory and selection online.
Capitalize on it: Use dramatic numbers to drive home this point, including the benefit of greater online inventory, which is a better chance for the consumer to find exactly what he wants.
Combat it: Talk about how you can satisfy the consumer by getting exactly what she wants from another store or your online store.
#5: They get better customer service online.
Capitalize on it: Promote the availability of online chat, your online store being open 24/7 and other customer service advantages.
Combat it: Talk about how educated salespeople can help you find the right items much better than someone on a phone call can.
The bottom line is, right or wrong, many consumers believe the reasons outlined above. So you need to deal with them in a way that makes the most sense.
Further, more and more consumers are using social media tools to aid their shopping. Deloitte LP reports that 44% consumers planned to use social media for holiday shopping; 51% will read online reviews and 57% will use social sites to find discounts.
Clearly such tools were not available a decade ago, and we can all see how they are impacting consumers and changing the way they shop. Etailers and retailers need to adapt as well.
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Irv Brechner has written over 100 published direct marketing articles and 13 books on a variety of topics. He's been a pioneer in online customer acquisition since 1996 and offline for his 35-year career. He has developed Acquirgy.com's "Customer Acquisition Intel Center" (acquirgy.com/intel ) he evangelizes best-of-breed tactics to help companies acquire customers in the digital age. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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