If you’ve been following our recent series, Consumer Trends Retailers Can’t Afford to Ignore, you know that big changes are coming for retailers and distributors. One of the biggest retail trends of 2017 is the rise of digital consumers and the importance of establishing an online presence. In this post, we discuss the data behind this trend, and how your operation can thrive online through social media, online retail, and more.
How the Rise of Digital Consumers Affects the Retail Industry
If your retail operation isn’t online, it should be. Here’s why:
In 2010, e-commerce sales generated $8 billion worldwide. In 2018, retail industry outlook studies show that online retail is expected to generate $36 billion. (Source: Deloitte) That’s a lot of additional revenue—and if your business doesn’t operate online today, any revenue you produce from e-commerce will be purely top line.
But, addressing the rise of digital consumers means more than launching an e-commerce website for your business. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Digital Influence survey, as much as $0.56 of every dollar spent in a bricks and mortar retail store was influenced by a digital interaction. That means that a consistent and positive brand presence across social media, mobile apps, online review sites, and more is key to making the sale, both online and offline.
Managing Your Online Retail Brand Presence
Creating and managing a successful online presence is a challenge for large and small retail operations alike. Here are a few tips to help your business maintain a positive brand presence, online and offline.
Maintain Consistent Messaging and Communication Across Channels
It can be difficult to juggle multiple social media platforms, emails, web content, and PR efforts alone. As a result, most businesses employ multiple team members to manage different aspects of their online brand presence. While this helps distribute the workload, it can also lead to inconsistencies in messaging and branding.
To maintain a consistent and positive presence across all channels, develop parameters for your team to follow for each channel. Style guides and brand guides support clear and cohesive messaging, no matter where or how your customers find your brand online.
Invest in a Social Media Management Tool
Let’s face it—you have enough to do without logging into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Foursquare, and every other social media presence you manage for your retail operation. Social media management tools, like Hootsuite and Sprout, make it easy to schedule updates, monitor mentions, and interact with customers from a single dashboard.
Encourage Customer Feedback and Engagement
With the rise of digital consumers, more and more customers use social media as a way to communicate with businesses. In some cases, they even use social media channels to report problems or interact with customer service. This can be scary for businesses that are trying to maintain a positive brand presence online.
But, even publicly shared customer complaints provide an opportunity for your retail operation to make a positive impression on existing and potential customers. Businesses that provide rapid and honest responses—even on forums like Twitter and Facebook—are businesses that care about customer experience, and your followers will recognize this.
Don’t Abandon Traditional Communication Channels
As the online penetration rate continues to rise around the world, digital consumers are becoming the norm. But, that doesn’t mean that your customers only want to interact with you online. Traditional channels of communication, such as phone support, are key to a successful retail strategy, digital or not.
With international toll free and local phone numbers, you can provide phone support to customers worldwide—regardless of your retail operation’s location. Incoming calls made to toll free or local phone numbers can be forwarded to any device, anywhere—so you never have to worry about missing a phone call from a potential or existing customer.
To learn more about how toll free and local phone numbers support online and offline retail efforts, talk to an AVOXI specialist today.
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