Why is Internet Giant Amazon Opening Up Brick and Mortar Stores?
When you’re looking for the best sushi spot or dental office in town, where do you begin your search? Do you flip through the phone book? Ask family and friends? Drive around hoping to stumble upon what you’re looking for? Your answer is most likely “I’ll Google it” (if your answer is “I’ll Bing it”, then you need to reevaluate your life).
The Power is at Your Fingertips
Did you know that 91% of buying decisions start online? What’s more, that number jumps to 97% if you are buying a high ticket item such as a car or a house. How did people before the days of the internet find the best anything in town?
Most consumers do their due diligence by researching a company and their offerings before a purchase is made. Customer reviews are incredibly valuable in that it puts the power in the customer’s hands to inform the public about the quality of their products and services. One misstep and an entire business can go under.
This due diligence applies to more than just purchases. “Stalking” or “creeping” someone on their social media channels before meeting them is common practice. Whether it’s for a first date, job interview, or a business meeting, the internet allows us to find out enough about this person to dispel our fear of meeting them in person (whether our confidence in this person is misplaced is a whole other story). But regardless of how people find out about you, they will always go online to find out even more.
Make Sure to Look Around You
With all that being said, what most people don’t understand is that 94% of all spending takes place at a physical location and 91% of discretionary income is spent within 5 miles of the home. There is a reason that Amazon is building physical, brick and mortar stores throughout the US. Apple started doing this 10 years ago and look at where they are now; they are the most profitable retailer of all time. Granted, that’s not the only reason they’re sitting pretty at the top, but seeing lineups that go on forever and snake around the corner is definitely an indication of how successful their stores are. Frank & Oak, a clothing store for men’s fashion, is following this trend of complementing their online business with brick and mortar stores in different cities around the US and Canada.
The decision process may start online, but it is important to remember that in many cases, the actual purchase will take place offline. In fact, local boutiques have seen a surge in business because of their niche offerings and willingness to provide a rich customer service experience. Understanding this will allow to you to leverage the fact that people are looking online to discover more about you so that you can build out your entire sales process. This is true for both B2B and B2C businesses.
So What Does it All Mean?
Even though we are talking about online marketing, you still need to understand the importance of taking care of your physical business. Because once your online marketing efforts bring customers to your business, you want to ensure that you provide good customer service, an inviting atmosphere, clean facilities, knowledgable staff, and more to keep them coming back.
Build a strong online presence or ask someone that can so you can draw people to your business. This means a functional website with an eye-catching design and relevant information. You may want to create a paid ad campaign. Get on relevant social media platforms if you haven’t already. Encourage customers to leave honest reviews for you online (e.g. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook etc). Set up Google Analytics to track where your website’s traffic is coming from (link to the tracking blog). Take care of your web properties and they will take care of you.