Can your eCommerce website generate local sales?
Absolutely. Benchmark Web Design is based in rural Somerset. We have clients throughout the UK, but many of our customers are located in the South West. And although they often found us online, they like the fact that we can visit them and get to know how they work. By finding out what’s important to their customers, we can build a website that does exactly what they need. They value this service.
Don’t compete on price
When we think about marketing our own business online, our priority is to target Somerset and the South West. Although this goes against the idea of the “World Wide Web”, it works because our customers don’t make buying decisions based entirely on price. If you have a physical shop, showroom or studio, use your online eCommerce website to encourage customers to visit you.
For many people, buying online is second nature. But for others it can be a bit daunting. Being able to physically see your products, or chat to you about your service is sometimes all the encouragement they need to place an order with you. So when you’re thinking about what you say on your eCommerce site, remember to sell your physical business too.
Customers often search online and then buy locally.
To what extent largely depends on what you are selling. Given the choice, many people do still like the assurance of buying goods or services from a local business. For example, if a potential customer is looking for the latest paperback by their favourite author, they know exactly what they are getting and may not care where it comes from. However, if they are buying a new television, a supplier that has a local showroom, an installation service and after-care may be more important to them.
Trade Counters – the best of both worlds.
By thinking of your eCommerce site as an extension of your physical business, rather than a completely separate sales tool, you can get the best of both worlds. Customers who like the convenience of shopping online, or are further afield, can easily buy from you. And those that want the reassurance of personal service and support can get this, even if they ultimately place an order online. This is particularly relevant to businesses such as trade counters (builders merchants, plumbers merchants, electrical wholesalers etc.); a sector where we have extensive experience. They use eCommerce to supplement their physical sales operation. Most of their trade customers don’t want to hold stock themselves, but know exactly what they need, and when. Tradesmen are often busy “on the tools” during the day and want to place orders online in the evenings. They like to buy locally because they know what they have ordered will be ready for collection, or delivered to site; but they don’t want to waste valuable time queuing at the wholesalers.
More than just a box shipper?
So if you sell online and your competitive advantage is built around quality, service or knowledge rather than price; shout about it. It is clearly important to make sure that your customers can easily find what they are looking for on your eCommerce site and place an order. But make sure it is obvious that you are not just a “box shipper”, and although you may not be the cheapest, you have the time and experience to make sure that your customers get a great deal. If you have a shop, showroom or offices, encourage potential customers to come and see you, even if they may eventually buy from your website.
Find out more
- For more information about eCommerce websites or selling online, give us a call on 01458 444010
- If you run a trade counter and need point-of-sale package that can integrate your online sales with your accounting software, CLICK HERE. Our sister company Benchmark Software has been helping companies like yours succeed for over 40 years.