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Ideas, INSPIRATION & Info

Small Business; Big Impact

Black Friday | Small Business Saturday | Cyber Monday | Giving Tuesday

These days, the retail world promises something for everyone … but how do you convey your message and make it stand out from all the others? Where do you find the customers you really want? How can you track your efforts to make sure you aren’t just lost in the crowd?

For retail businesses, this coming weekend has been described as the “Biggest Shopping Weekend of the Year” with Black Friday. That trend is also the case for e-commerce sites too on Cyber Monday. Local and small businesses can jump in this weekend just like the big box stores with Small Business Saturday. In fact, 2017 is a year that (thanks in part to the national marketing efforts of American Express) has really impacted the trend of #SupportLocal and buying from independently owned businesses.

Sure, it’s difficult to compete with those multi-million dollar companies and their door buster deals, but let’s think about a more strategic approach to your business for one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

According to Forrester, improving the customer experience is a top priority for most companies. In fact, a recent study revealed that 89% of companies say they expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2020. Delivering communication through the channels preferred by your customers and designing them with digital outlets in mind is the differentiator.

Talking about a different approach to the overall “experience” for shopping can best be described by walking through the customer journey for an in-store purchase first.

OPTION A: Mowing people over to rush into an overcrowded store and waiting in jam packed lines just to get a “deal”

OR

OPTION B: Browsing a small boutique store owned by family members who will give you their undivided attention, explain the products, tell you their business story as well as why they love what they do every day. Not to mention they will possibly gift wrap your purchase while you wait and make you feel really great about the money you just spent, supporting people and a community you know and love?

Which option sounds like a better experience to you? I know what my choice would be. . .

If you are predominately an online outfitter, whether e-commerce, subscription focused, or through social platforms (think Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, Facebook), the customer experience can have a huge impact on return business to your site. We call this user experience. Think about this:

• How easy is it for your customers to find your site based on your products/services?
• Once they land on your site, can they find what they’re looking for with simple, intuitive navigation?
• Is the checkout process user-friendly or do sales drop off because it’s too complicated?

In the digital world, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they need quickly. Think of it as putting the biggest sellers on the most visited page just like you would the front of a brick and mortar store, the add-ons or secondary items before checkout just like any good store does closest to the register. (Oh, you know what I’m talking about – we have all been “sold” that way.) Digital media can help you strategically communicate with your customers through various methods to get them the information they want. Remember, they need a reason to visit your website. They’re not just browsing to see what might be new.

Small businesses, whether online or brick and mortar, will all benefit from taking a look at their marketing efforts to see what’s working and what’s not. That’s the beauty of digital media – actual data you can analyze and plans you can refine. Digital media, combined with creative design and messaging, can make all the difference.

Side note: I would be remiss if I mentioned Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday without giving a shout out to #GivingTuesday (one of my favorite days!) It kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.