Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Business 101: TIDAL WAVE!!...or Getting Ready for a Customer Surge

Big sale events, the beginning of a buying season, and the holidays can almost guarantee the potential to see some major traffic going through your store.

And that is when your store needs to be looking its best!

Whether you are a brick and mortar store or an online store, nothing can turn a customer off faster than drab products, an unwelcoming atmosphere, and a feeling that a business owner hasn't even done anything differently in months.  Imagine walking into a store on Black Friday and seeing Halloween decorations, hearing elevator music, and rummaging through racks of summer clothes. 

Customers want to be "dazzled" when they come with money to spend. They want to be welcomed and entertained and charmed. They want the " buyer's high" that comes from clicking the download button and getting something they can show others.  And if your store doesn't offer a chance at that feeling...they will find one that does.

So what can you do?  A lot!  Here are some ideas to get your store ready:

1) Put out a current welcome sign for the event.  Either use that great space where you put your quote...or/and write it on top of each product description.  This lets the online shopper know that there is a live human being who is up on the events happening on the site. Keep in mind any advertising information  or rules that have been given by the site's administrators.

2) Spruce up your products. Think of each product as a RACK of the same product. You want multitudes of them bought.  Need a better cover? Make it.  Need a better description? Write it.  Need something more or different in the product? Do it.  Put your most eyecatching items up in the featured section. You have the potential to earn a lot of REPEAT business.....get them coming back with showing them that ALL of your products are quality made and are up-to-date.

3)Do you have a new product? Get it on! But make sure it's up to your standards before you put it on.  Large events are great for introducing new items.

4)Answer questions as quickly as you can.  Remember, this is the age of quick, quick, quick.  Some customers think all online business owners are glued to their computers...which even with "work at home" owners isn't the case.  You don't have to answer within minutes...but you need to get back to them that day.  I realize teaching can prohibit getting onto the site during the day...so just do it as soon as you can!

5) Direct your customers to other great items you offer by adding suggestions of similar products in your description. The goal is to get them to stay in your store. If you can get them to stay in your store and click around on several products, you have more of a chance of them buying from you.  As simple as it sounds, the time and action of clicking is an "investment" to customers.  More investment=More sales. 

5.5) And related to above, UTILIZE the custom categories option in your store. Make it easy on your customers to find items they are looking for without spending a ton of time searching.  You know the sound you make and the frustration you feel when you are in a new grocery store and you can't find the salad dressing aisle. It's the same online.

6) Pin, link, promote the week before as much as you can.  Get those "wishlist" statistics up so that when events start, customers have a starting place....YOUR store!

7) HOSTS of Collaborative boards should make a pin announcing the big event (adhering to site rules and suggestions).  This will alert followers and get them looking through the board again.  This should really be done by the HOST of the board as too many "big event" pins can be a turn off...and redundant.  The pin should link to the main site...but even better....link it to a general category that fits with your board. (Example: A math board would link to the math category). This will help increase the chance that most of the pins on your board will be seen with that particular pin.  At the end of the event...remove pin....quickly.

8) If you have a blog....get the word out.  Tell teachers at school.  Tell people who homeschool. Tell parents. The more people that come into the "site mall"...the more business everyone gets.

9) And remember..each customer has at least a "mental budget" they are working with during selling events.  The "business game" is to see how much of that budget will end up in your store....and your pocket.

10)And if you are a "datahead"...record the data on your statistics before and after the event.  This will provide good info for you later on. 

Hope these help when it's time to get out those virtual brooms and dustpans, ladders, and any little animated forest animal that will help you to get your store in tip-top shape! 

Keep on...Keepin' on!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great advice! It's quite overwhelming at first so this really helps!


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