After running our instant turf outlets the same way for decades, I never believed that diversifying our approach to online and app store sales would work. Traditionally, landscapers, DIY gardeners and commercial clients would come in-store, touch, and feel our products, spend time getting educated by our lawn experts and then make a purchase.
But three years on, while we still offer this same level of service in-store, we now have a new generation of customers who have never step foot in the store.
So, does that mean you can sell even the most unlikely products online? Yes, if customers get access to an informative and true to life, virtual experience from anywhere they please.
If this is the present, imagine what the future holds? If you think your sales rely on face-to-face education, touch and feel, think again. Here is what I learnt.
Seven “must haves” for any virtual business platform
- Clear, valuable content. You need to imagine that someone browsing your site is starting from square one with what you are selling or your service. Offer up concise, honest and helpful information as core content.
- Professional photography and /or videos. In this very visual age, customers want to get the best feel for your product possible. Professional images and videos are the optimal way to demonstrate your offerings.
- Multiple “add to cart” pathways. You never know when your customer will be ready to commit to purchasing, so on all your content pages, include a ‘buy now’ or similar option.
- News updates and industry tips. By addressing common questions about your industry in regular tip sharing or blog news articles, your customers may begin to turn to you and follow your blog for insight. Your specialty knowledge is valuable to others out there, so share, share, share.
- Industry-specific tools. Whether it’s a ‘calculator’ a ‘quick estimator’ a ‘visual mock-up’ or similar, online browsers love to engage with personalised tools. This can lead to quote requests and the like. Tools are an easy sales driver.
- Social media presence. A powerful and cheap way to reach targeted customers. An ongoing social media strategy can be used to introduce new products, reignite interest in existing services or products, and naturally drives\ traffic to your website to help convert browsers to buyers.
- If you can, create an app. Each download represents a committed customer. Apps will instantly mark your company as a serious industry player, and with that comes trust. A cleverly designed app will make shopping a breeze and provide swift access to your most important offerings. We even have two app versions – one for customers and one for landscapers – completely customised for their buying journeys.