How Retail is Changing
Part One in a Three Part Series
The old assumption in advertising was that the customer didn't know, and wouldn't know unless you told them.
This is no longer a valid assumption. Today's customer enjoys access to information far beyond what any of us saw coming.
You're aware of how quickly and easily you gather information online each day, but has it occurred to you that your customers expect information about you and your products to be found just as quickly and easily?
What do your customers find when they enter your category and town into a search engine? Do they find the answers to their questions?
What do they assume when you provide minimal information and someone else provides much more?
Better Question: What do you assume when minimal information is provided by a company you're researching online?
What about those times when you're researching a purchase and the seller chooses not to put prices online? How does that make you feel? What do you assume about the seller?
Are you likely to:
1. call them,
2. email them, or just
3. search for that product from a different provider?
The first time we designed a promotional plan for a website was in June, 2000. I'll never forget it. We put together a great product, a catchy name and a media plan we knew would drive traffic to the site. That was where it all fell apart.
The client decided it would be best to “capture all the contact information” before revealing the price of the item. In essence, a customer had to commit to purchase the item before the price was revealed. That website had hundreds of thousands of visitors but made very few sales. The company is now defunct, even though their product was excellent and their prices were great.
The best websites answer all your questions.
Does your website answer all your customer's questions, or is your plan to “make them” contact you so you can “get more detailed information” about their budget, their preferences and their requirements?
The customer is far more likely to contact you after they've found the answers to all the questions you didn't have to have their personal details to provide.
The hardest part about crafting a website is anticipating the unspoken questions of your customers.
The most successful of the Wizard Academy websites is FreeWeddingChapel.org. Miraculously, it took us only about 6 months to bring that website to its current level of seamlessness. Our advantage was a daily telephone-parade of anxious brides calling with nervous questions. Few decisions are accompanied by the degree of anxiety as the decisions that accompany a wedding. These daily questions allowed us to quickly refine our info-stream. Any time we answered a new question by telephone, we'd instantly add the answer to the ones we provided online.
That website now functions like a well-oiled machine. Brides comment the website “felt like it was reading my mind.”
This is what happens when you diligently:
1. harvest the questions of your customers, and then
2. insert all the answers into your web copy.
Now get to work on that website.
Roy H. Williams