15 Reasons Websites Can Help Small Retail Businesses Grow
Some small business owners, such as those with independent retail stores, don’t think there’s much point in having a website.
They believe their customers aren’t likely to find stores like theirs on the Internet and instead prefer to see what’s available on the street as they walk.
The truth is that websites help all businesses grow – even small retail stores where the owners don’t employ anyone else to serve customers.
You’re likely reading this today because you have a retail store like that, but you want to get more customers and sell more products daily. It’s probably time to harness the Internet as a new source of income for your store, but you’re not sure about it all.
Take a look at the following compelling reasons why all retailers – including you – should have a well-thought-out, easy-to-navigate website that serves as a functional extension of your physical store:
1. It Attracts New Local Customers
Any retail business should have a website because it helps them attract new local customers. Your area likely consists of thousands of residents and other business leaders, yet it’s unrealistic to assume that all those people know about all their local businesses.
When people go online to search for local products and services offered by stores like yours, having a website means your brand will appear in the list of search engine results pages.
Never assume that everyone knows you exist – especially if you’ve recently opened your retail store.
2. Visibility On Local Google Search Results
Google’s local search results have become a blessing for many Internet users. People searching for a specific business type, such as a supermarket, will get presented with a list of relevant results local to their current location.
As you might have realized, this will be very useful for your business when people search for your products and services. When you set up your website, you can simultaneously set up your Google Business profile and add a link to your site from the profile.
3. An Opportunity To Sell 24/7
You might only operate a small retail business, such as a store or even a food stall at your local market, but you can still explore other ways to sell your products and services.
Your website is a fantastic way to sell to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can take orders for you while you’re fast asleep in bed, and you could even automate the whole process by using a fulfillment service to send out goods on your behalf!
4. Your Customers Learn More About Your Business
The trouble with walking into a retail store, irrespective of its size or what it sells, is that you will find it challenging to learn more about the people behind the brand, why they exist, and what they hope to achieve.
Thankfully, your website can serve an educational purpose and a business one. It lets you tell people your “story,” including your brand’s roots and achievements.
It’s also a valuable source of information for journalists wishing to write news stories about your retail business or if a marketing company wants to write press releases on your behalf.
5. It Supports Your Social Media Presence
Do you have a Facebook or Twitter profile? Perhaps you enjoy taking photos of new products or events at your retail store and uploading them to Instagram? Whatever social media platforms you use, your website perfectly accompanies them.
When you create new posts on your social media profiles, you can link to specific products, services, or other content on your website where your fans and followers can learn more about the post subject.
Moreover, you can use URL parameters in your links to help you track visits to your website from specific social networking marketing campaigns.
6. Most People Go Online Regularly
According to a study from Pew Research Center, approximately 85% of Internet users go online daily, while a staggering 31% surf the Web or use social media throughout the day and night!
Given how many people frequently use the Internet, it makes sense for your retail business to have a website so that Internet users can view your online content during their Internet sessions.
Also, it’s common knowledge that most people using search engines do so from mobile devices, so you can take advantage of that by creating a mobile-friendly website.
7. An Excellent Way To Promote Your Feedback
Consumers are very savvy these days. The Internet helps them to explore different products and services and then shortlist retailers they’re most likely to use for their purchases.
One way your retail business can get shortlisted by your target audience is by promoting its feedback online.
Independently verified reviews on platforms like Trustpilot give consumers an insight into the customer journey with your retail business, and they can detail any negative experiences, such as poor customer service or lack of product availability.
8. You Can Offer Enhanced Customer Support
Your retail business likely offers excellent customer service, and it’s one of the reasons why your customers come back to you for repeat purchases. But what happens if some of those people need your help when your retail store has closed for the day?
Some of those customers may have an urgent request they need to make, and they could likely go to your competitor if you’re unavailable to help them.
Thankfully, your website can offer 24/7 customer support through various mediums, such as online chat or a secure messaging system, and you can outsource that support – especially if most inquiries are commonly asked questions.
9. Makes Customers Aware Of New Promotions
Your website will likely have dedicated product and service pages. But did you know you can launch online marketing campaigns where you can direct people to customized landing pages each time you run an in-store promotion?
Obviously, you don’t want duplicate content to mess up your search engine rankings. By using canonical tags in your landing page code, you can create variations of those product and service pages specifically for your promotions without affecting your standing.
10. Helps Influence Buying Decisions
Whether buying a loaf of bread or an expensive power tool, consumers often think long and hard about their purchasing choices before handing over any money to a retailer.
It’s no secret that many people will research their choices online before they buy anything. To that end, setting up a website for your retail business will help convince buyers that purchasing from your retail store (or website) makes the most sense.
Your website can influence them in many ways, such as:
- Displaying photos and videos of your products;
- Providing detailed information about how they get used;
- Your policies, such as hassle-free returns or 24/7 customer support.
11. Makes Your Retail Store More Professional
Your business has a brand that gets promoted through your retail store. However, you can use your website as an extension of your business to make it appear more professional to your target audience.
Websites make consumers feel more confident that you’re a professional retail business – one that isn’t likely to close soon after it was established.
Moreover, you can use your website in all official verbal and written communications, and you can add a link to it from your business cards whenever you network with others in the retail industry.
12. Lets You Demonstrate Your Products
Retail stores typically have hundreds or even thousands of products on their shelves. While it’s true that those products are usually in eye-catching packaging, some customers may not understand what they are and avoid buying them if they are relevant to their needs.
A website for your retail business can help because it allows you to showcase each product and provide explainer videos to demonstrate how your customers can use them.
13. You Can Sell Exclusive Online-Only Products
You might want to launch flash sales or sell products, but you don’t have the space inside your retail establishment.
In those situations, you can use your website to sell online-only products. Your customers can have those items delivered or collect them from your premises.
An example might be if you sell construction materials and offer machinery rentals, but you don’t have the space in-store for large items like cement mixers or generators.
14. Helps You Learn More About Your Customers
Knowing about your target audience is an excellent way to help you tailor the products and services to their needs. You can use various analytics tools to learn more about your target demographic when you have a website.
For example, you can find out about the products and services they usually buy, their regional location, and even their age and gender if you use analytics from social media ad campaigns.
15. Lets You Offer A Click And Collect Service
One final reason why a website makes sense for your retail business is that you can offer customers a click-and-collect service. That means they can browse for the products they want online, reserve them, and collect them at their convenience.
They don’t have to queue for a store clerk to take payment, nor must they make an impulsive purchase due to time constraints.