In a world where almost anything can be bought on Amazon or eBay for a rock-bottom price, many business owners have been dismayed not only by decreased foot traffic, but also the practice of "showrooming," where consumers use brick-and-mortars merely as comparison shopping venues, to then purchase an item online, later. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been fighting back in recent years, though, with some proven tactics that are helping to stem what can feel like an overwhelmingly negative tide.
Power of Positive Reviews
According to research compiled by Google, online reviews carry a lot of weight: 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. This can make the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity for a small or midsize business.
For instance, a local screen printing service may not have prices as low as an online service, but if a consumer sees the shop has earned a reputation for high-quality service and fast turnaround times, they may be willing to pay the extra money to ensure their screen printing job meets their expectations. Though you never want to solicit reviews directly, Yelp suggests that small businesses boost their online review profile by creating awareness through social media channels with links to positive reviews.
Make Mine Mobile
It's no secret that one of the biggest driving factors behind the trend toward comparison shopping is the widespread use of smartphones in today's society. Making your business more accessible to consumers via their mobile devices can ensure that they're considering all their options when they shop, and one of the best ways to do this is to make sure you're employing responsive design.
For their State of Content report, Adobe surveyed 2,008 device-using adults. When asked about how they react to display issues, 50 percent said that they would switch devices if they were having trouble interacting with content — but 33 percent said that they would stop interacting with the content altogether.
Master Local Search Engine Marketing
Of course, having a great, easy-to-read webpage is wonderful, but in order to reach potential customers, businesses need to employ a smart search engine marketing strategy that will serve ads based on highly specific criteria. Base filters on considerations like location and desired demographics, with the goal being to make your business pop up instead of the competition when a potential customer is searching for information on a product or service while they're comparison shopping.
Using the example of the screen printing company — which we'll say is located in Covington, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta — you'll want to target searchers with locally-focused, long-tail keywords like "custom shirts in Covington," "shirts for local Atlanta teams" or even "shirt printing service in Atlanta," ensuring that searchers will find your business before the competition.
Though comparison shopping can seem like a bad thing, positive reviews on third-party sites and a smart search engine marketing plan can ensure that your business is seen when consumers are looking for your particular goods or service. With a responsively designed webpage to tie it all together, marketers can actually help small and midsize businesses connect with consumers who are searching for the best of the best online.