3 Strategies for Managing a Shop’s Online Reputation

The English have been known as a nation of shopkeepers, and I guess this is in part true. We still have a substantial number of independent merchants surviving, even thriving, despite fierce competition from supermarkets and big national chains. We remain ahead of them since we understand retail, and are much better than them. Why do so many throw away their retail common sense when it comes to ecommerce? Why is it that we listen and act to the online marketing gurus who attempt to tell us what to do? I am guessing that it’s the technology that’s the unknown, rather than being comfortable with it we hear people who know the technology, rather than relying on our retail experience.

I believe there are 3 fundamental statements that require careful analysis.

  • “Internet shoppers are only interested in price.”
  • “It is all about search engine optimization and setting on Google.”
  • “You require a link effort to create a great deal of backlinks.”

If a self appointed specialist came into your store and said you can only survive if you’re cheaper than Walmart, which you must advertise heavily in the city’s only newspaper, which you had to fly poster everywhere, you’d let him go away — or worse. We’d do this as as retailers we all know that this is crap.

So take the technology from ecommerce and return to basics.

Any shopkeeper will tell you that it’s not so much how many people walked past the store, or came in, whilst both essential metrics, the most essential element is how much money did you choose. It’s the exact same online. The three metrics that you need to get, and keep, are the number of people visited your website, how many put an order (the conversion rate) and how much gain on average you left on these orders. For a silent site you desire these amounts monthly or weekly, for a busier site every day. Any change you make, any advertising you do, ought to be measured against these amounts. There’s just no point in getting more traffic if they don’t place orders and make you money.

When new clients come into your store, and particularly when they buy something, a fantastic merchant will engage them in conversation. You ask open questions such as”can I help you””is there anything in particular you’re searching for” to determine what sort of product they want. You also try to learn where they heard of you and why they came in now, etc.. All to learn more about your customers and also to learn what sort of inventory to get in in future.

Online is the same. You get this information out of a good statistics package like Google Analytics. It will demonstrate the split of traffic between new visitors, returning visitors, people who followed links to your website and people who used a search engine. If you divide your visitor numbers up by this you need to discover that repeat clients have the highest conversion rate, followed by people who came in by connection, with new clients coming through search (specifically excluding individuals who hunted on your organization name) with the worst conversion speed. This isn’t surprising, as repeat visitors know what to expect and will already by in a buying frame of mind.

So whilst Google is essential, you earn more money by getting customers to keep coming back and recommending your website to friends.

Why would people return? Well, as you provide something they want and enjoy and value. You do that by demonstrating great product knowledge, decent customer service and dependability. When you produce a product, don’t stick with the stock provider photo, add some of your own. Don’t cut and paste the conventional supplier waffle, make your own description. Add detail you understand the client will like. Add personality. If nothing else a fantastic description means that you aren’t a replica of the thousands of other websites which have simply copied the provider description. If you merely copy what everyone else does, then why would Google place your website on top?

I’ve found that if you give a client confidence you know you inventory, you will care for his order, it will be suitably packed, despatched quickly, and provide a 100% guarantee. You don’t need to be cheapest. A client needs the security of knowing that they’ll get what they ordered immediately and if anything should go wrong it’ll be fixed.

Recommendations to friends of clients are also a great target market. When a customer indicates a buy to a friend, and the friend asks where they got it, will they respond“in the Web”, or”out of xyz site”? Be certain you brand your website, your packing slip, your emails, the coupons and flyers that you put in each box, even your packaging, so the client is more likely to NAME you.

In terms of links, these are intended to be there for prospective customers to click and go to your shop and purchase your merchandise. Like flyers, properly targeted they’ll generate customers. Poorly fly posted anywhere and you’ll loose standing and perhaps customers. Lately in the Google Panda upgrade a great deal of websites lost position due to having too many bad links. Now that Google is tracking more and more of everyone’s Internet navigation, how long do you think it is going to be before Google starts scoring the value of every link? They’ll know which ones are actually followed, and if you’re using Google Analytics they may also know which one led to a conversion. Google is collecting SO MUCH data it’ll be harder and harder to fool it with artificial connections and other search engine optimization fiddles.

So to be prosperous in ecommerce, start using great retail common sense. Build an superb shop that has content that stands over the clones. Customers will find you. Google will follow.