Action items you can do now to start creating that balance
Think about this: when was the last time you got in your car and drove to a building supply dealer and sat in the parking lot just looking at the storefront. Then you drove back home, without ever going in, and THEN got online to look at that same store to learn more? Hopefully you have answered NEVER. Now think of how you buy online. You look up that dealer or manufacturer 's website and you read about them. You get detailed information online regarding their products offered and you make your own first impression of that company by their web presence and by what type of shopping conveniences they are offering you via their website. Your key to success as consumer habits evolve online: Improve your customers overall shopping experience by giving them the option to order and purchase products online and add to, or improve, your current brick and mortar services offered.
Gone are the days when “John and Suzy Best-Customer” show up at 7am at the local building products dealer to drink lousy coffee and shoot the bull while waiting to load up their pick-up truck with supplies. The key e-Commerce trends of 2016 present a now-or-never scenario to building product suppliers and building product manufacturers. Either respond effectively to them or fall permanently behind.
Remember, your online presence is your customer’s new first impression. Here are a few action items you can do now to start creating that balance between your brick-and-mortar store and your online presence:
Keep your website fresh and updated- this could be as easy as a new color scheme and layout of your current website. Your physical store and your website should reflect consistency in service and products.
Tweak your logo- Your logo should evolve with your brand. Logos should be tweaked to show the evolution of the company and can be rolled out with the new look of your website or with a new product offering. A tweaking of the logo doesn’t have to be a drastic change; the brand should still be recognizable.
Social media links- have active social media links on your website to keep customers updated on specials, promotions, etc. Having active social media links keeps your website content “new” which is what search engines, such as Google, look for in rankings.
E-commerce- E-commerce brings your products into your customer’s office or kitchen or warehouse, or where ever they do business, and gives them the freedom to purchase products when they need to. By offering your products online it unifies your in-store and online experience.
Responsive Design- a responsive design ensures that your current website is optimized for all devices. This means that I can look at your website on my phone, my tablet, my laptop, etc. it still has a consistent design and I can easily make a purchase or browse through your website regardless of device.
Developing an online plan and creating your online store is now necessary to stay relevant in an ever changing online world. Your online presence is about seamlessly connecting your online and off-line sales channels so your customers experience a unified brand and can access information quickly and easily when they need it. It does not matter what you are selling. It matters how visible and accessible your products are online and how clearly and consistently you are getting your brand and company message out to your customers.
Carolynn Pitcher Brescka is the founder of Building Supply Online Services. Carolynn has long been an e-commerce advocate and consultant within the building products industry working with many manufacturers, suppliers and distributors helping them realize their online potential. By designing and implementing custom e-commerce solutions for her clients, Carolynn’s goal is to help companies within the building products sector grow their online business and help them capitalize on this high-growth sales channel. She can be reached at email@example.com