However, businesses that don't have the cash flow to build brand recognition with brand management and advertising can still compete. The opportunity to differentiate lies in Internet marketing and sales tools. Here are a few guidelines in helping develop a successful shopping experience from decision to purchase.
A good image doesn't always equate to good service. Some retailers provide excellent service but don't communicate it in their image, and vice-versa. Branding is often misaligned with sales and operations. A small update to the company's online image, brand, or information design can communicate a luxurious, simple or fun shopping experience. Your brand sells the experience of doing business with you before someone does (just as a menu sells the food before someone orders it), so communicate clearly.
Show some trust toward the customer and the customer will trust you. Online, trust-building methods such as offering free samples, free consultations and assessments, helpful product reviews, and professional advice without pushing sales show honesty and trust in the customer's preferences. Amazon.com revolutionized online shopping by offering a public rating system for the products they sell, allowing anyone to post a review, whether positive or negative, as a way to help customers with their purchasing decisions.
Be alert and ready to help. You can show outstanding salesmanship online by offering multiple ways for a customer to contact you - e-mail, e-mail form and phone number. An extra bonus to your customers would be to add a live chat service to your Web site. Live chat allows customers browsing on your Web site to get questions answered immediately without the hassle of sending emails or inconvenience of calling. Live chat providers such as LivePerson (www.liveperson.com) and SightMax (www.sightmax.com) provide software sales support solutions.
Make it easy for the customer. Someone who showed interest once might still be a potential buyer in the future. Handing over a business card leaves all the work up to the customer to keep in contact! Be proactive by asking, "Would you mind if I added you to our mailing list?" On your Web site, ask in pop-in windows or offer freebies online in exchange for e-mail addresses to build up your database. Permission e-mail marketing is a great way to follow up with your potential customers and keep your name in front of them. This is better than general advertising because you are speaking to a captivated audience - your subscribers are already interested in you!
Together, technology and the connective power of the internet are making drastic changes in what a typical work setting looks like today, and many companies are beginning to rely more upon a remote workforce. In fact, according to Global Workplace Analytics, “regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 105% since 2005.” more
You may think your business phone system is functional, but is it fully modern? In recent years, telecommunications technology has made major strides. A system that was perfectly serviceable ten years ago—or even five years ago—is now very out-of-date. more
Among all of the business software applications necessary for business operations, ERP is undoubtedly one of the most important. Making the wrong selection can have a disastrous impact on your accounting, manufacturing, and supply chain. With so much at stake, it is crucial to make a well-informed decision. more
Did you know that, according to Forbes, 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better customer experience? Customer satisfaction is always a worthy business pursuit, but to identify customer preferences and exceed expectations, you must keep pace with innovations in the technology your customers are using. more
This whitepaper describes why the shift from a traditional to a social intranet is imperative to staying competitive, and analyzes the costs and benefits associated with implementing one. You will also find useful KPIs to measure performance and further leverage your intranet's success, raising employee engagement and boosting your competitive advantage. more