Stop Making Assumptions
One of the issues that has absolutely driven me insane over the years is the ability of large companies to only see five feet in front of themselves. Many management teams get so caught-up in the day-to-day, that they completely lose sight of what really needs to happen. They are running around with their hair on fire paying attention to silly things that literally will have zero contribution to the bottom line. First, management starts making assumptions that carry over into decisions that lead them down a path of failure. I have seen this in both large and medium sized organizations and it always surprises me. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a service or a product. You cannot make assumptions that the customer base knows who you are or what you do. If you think that is the case, you are mistaken. You need to take a step back and see what the customer sees.
I remember starting a job as a marketing manager for a company that had been around for many years. I went to an event to see how we were communicating our brand to the consumer base and what I saw simply blew my mind. There in the midst of a plethora of potential customers was our booth. Our marketing effort consisted of a pop-up tent with fold out tables and stacks of catalogs. I stood there watching potential customers come and go. Some would pick up a catalog, and simply walk away. Some would ask questions about what we sold. Others would just look and leave. There was no data acquisition. We had very few interactions with customers that were not already familiar with our brand, because we were not trying to engage with them. Putting a catalog on a table is not a good way to communicate your company values, benefits, and service goals. As a company, we were making a lot of assumptions. This was a result of getting comfortable and not seeing our business through the eyes of our customer.
Times Have Changed
It should be pretty obvious to business owners that times and customer habits have changed drastically. Customers have a very powerful computer in their hands these days that can give them all the data points they need to make an educated purchasing decision. If the product is not complex, they rarely need to speak to anyone. This means there is a much lower percentage chance that you will have the opportunity to convert them into a sale. Knowing all this, have you adjusted your business to accommodate these changes in customer habits? Even brick and mortar dealers need to be savvy on how to sell via ecommerce. Even if your walk-in sales are currently going really well, you must have learned the importance of selling via the internet during the pandemic? If I walk into your dealership and you don’t have the item I need, telling me you can order it is almost laughable. Yeah… So can I, and I will probably get it before you do.
Amazon and Ease of Business
It’s pretty obvious these days that you have to be on-the-ball to beat Amazon at a game they have perfected. Ease of business used to be a big topic for many ecommerce businesses. “How do we do this?” Amazon has pretty much defined the term these days. How many of us have the Amazon app on our phone? Within 3 clicks you can have an item on the way to your house. This makes impulse purchases almost criminal because it’s so easy. Nothing is sacred. If you don’t make it that easy for your returning customers…you aren’t doing it right. Amazon showed us how it’s done..learn from it. You already have a great website? Awesome…when is your app going to be complete?
Don’t Skimp on Content!
This one drives me crazy. Skimping on content or on content resources. Creating a product is only part of the recipe for success. You can make the best product in the world, but if you don’t know how to communicate the benefits of that product, you are destined to fail. You need content for each product and each variation of that product. Relying on manufacturers to provide your content, is simply not realistic. If they do provide content, its probably not going to be unique content. Skimping on content only hurts your sales. Amazon request 6 separate pictures for each product and a video. Descriptive SEO (Search Engine Optimized) copy and bullet points that describe each item you are selling in great detail. This is what you are competing against. If you don’t have a private label brand that is desired by your consumer base, content and service are the only things that will separate you from Amazon. If you don’t know how to write decent descriptions, and you don’t have unique images of your items, you are not planning for the future. You are living in the moment. Get those resources now and start planning for the future. Stop putting it off! The content team should be as involved as your merchandising team. They add a lot of value for your business. Invest in that team. Content is king when selling products online. Don’t miss out!