Get the Best Online Presence For your Offline Shop

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More than half of consumers use the web to pre-shop before making a purchase, but the vast majority still want to complete the transaction in a traditional in-person shopping experience. When bricks-and-mortar merchants consider their marketing strategy, they need to think beyond just capturing online sales leads. The .shop-ification of your offline store -- that is extending your brand online with a .shop domain -- is a powerful bridge between the two mediums. But once you’ve registered your new .shop web address, how do you create those links?

.shop-ification of your offline success

Your customers’ experience at your .shop site should be an extension of what has worked to differentiate your business in the offline world, rather than an entirely new set of strategies. This can be achieved by extending the key attributes of your offline presence that your customers look for and enjoy most. Consider that fully two-thirds of consumers believe that their customer experience is more important than price, and three-quarters of shoppers say they are more likely to come to your physical store if the information you provide online is useful to them.

Your .shop site has everything to do with your offline success. For example, 36 cents out of every dollar spent by customers in your physical store are directly influenced by your web presence, and studies show that this influence results in increased spending of 22 percent in your offline store. The real impact of a good .shop experience is most obvious when you consider that 72 percent of young consumers do research online before buying something.

Seamlessly integrate your .shop experience with your physical storefront

One of the best ways to get the most out of your .shop web presence is to combine the benefits of both online and offline to provide in-store pickups for online orders as a part of the sales process. Customers often appreciate the savings this provides when they avoid paying high shipping costs, and it avoids some of the possible problems which arise when sending a product directly to a customer since they can buy the item online and see it in person at your physical location before deciding to take it home. It also provides peace of mind for customers who are shy about making online purchases, fearing the merchandise will arrive damaged or, even worse, won’t arrive at all.

Ultimately, this gives you a golden opportunity to build loyalty by seamlessly integrating the online experience achieved with your .shop domain and your offline store location where you can get customers to come see all you have to offer in person. You might offer in-store discounts to your online customers, or provide them with special early-bird access to sale items that can be reserved and picked up in person. Encourage your customers to check your .shop site for the newest arrivals, previews of coming sales, and allow them to reserve special items with online exclusives and layaway plans.

Get personal with recommendations and advice

Lots of shoppers, as previously mentioned, still prefer to visit your offline establishment to see products, ask questions, and get real human recommendations based on their specific needs. Businesses that understand the value of recommendations are way ahead of the competition, and your .shop store provides you with a singular way to connect not only to online review sites that will boost your image and visibility. Think of it this way: just about everyone these days has a smartphone, and they can easily search for items they want to buy on the web, anywhere, anytime. Recommendations from other consumers is a trusted source of information. Consider not only the increase in online visibility that your .shop site will provide in local search results, but also the opportunity to feature “recommended products” on your site based on real customer feedback and testimonials that can be linked right to your selling pages.

Take a lesson from Amazon with special features like “Buyers also viewed” and “Customer reviews” to give your shoppers more details that will help them make decisions both online and offline about what to buy. Conversely, you should remind the customers visiting your .shop site that your physical store is just around the corner with friendly, expert sales clerks ready to help them with a truly personalized experience that spans both the online and offline world. A customer who arrives at your store after having a seamless, enjoyable online experience and finds a smiling staff ready to assist them is likely to return again and again.

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