Over the past few years, the Australian market has seen an explosion in demand for products that promote healthy, ethical and sustainable lifestyles. For example, bike riding – which is a $1 billion industry – has increased more than 45 per cent in the past decade. And most riders are aged between 25-44 – a demographic that boasts the most disposable income.
So why are so many bricks-and-mortar retailers struggling to make ends meet? The answer is the availability and convenience of online shopping. Customers can now browse products from their couch, and prices are cheaper often offshore. Local businesses have just not been able to compete.
But there is hope. In fact, with the booming number of bike riders entering the Australian market today, some retailers have experienced phenomenal growth. There is no reason why other stores can’t do the same. They just need to get up to speed and invest in online.
Here, we share with you 4 ways digital can push your store to centre stage.
1. Showcase your business with a responsive e-commerce site
It should come as no surprise that 85 per cent of customers browse online before they decide to buy. Therefore, it’s valuable for bricks-and-mortar stores to have an online presence.
Given that customers often compare products using their iPhone or tablet, it helps to have a ‘responsive’ website that automatically adjusts its layout to suit the customer’s device. However, a ‘brochure’ site that displays some (or all) of the products in your store will still increase your likelihood of generating sales. To decide which option is best for you, consider factors such as budget, long-term vision and what internal resources you have to help update the site.
If your expertise is a key strength, encourage customers to contact you or visit the store by adding strong calls to action on your website. Using this approach, you can provide trusted guidance, build rapport and consequently close the sale.
Don’t worry about the competitive prices offered overseas; according to a recent survey conducted by Bicycle Network, 90 per cent of customers are willing to buy from Australian stores if there is less than a 20 per cent difference in price. Your main task is getting in front of consumers.
2. Target local markets via SEO and SEM
Forget about taking over the world. Focus on your surrounding suburbs.
Targeted marketing to your local area is very effective and achievable via SEO (search engine optimisation, which is free) and SEM (search engine marketing, which is paid).
Your web developer can set up these tools for you at a budget you can afford – simply ask them for advice. What’s great about SEO and SEM is that they are measureable. You can monitor results and see what’s working best for you over time.
3. Increase engagement via social media
Customers are willing to support businesses with similar values. Social media platforms are the perfect channels to convey these.
Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest, engage in conversations with customers that demonstrate shared interests. In the case of bike retailers, topics could include keeping fit and reducing pollution. Such interaction fosters a sense of community, leading to trust and advocacy.
4. Promote referrals and rewards with email campaigns
Word-of-mouth referrals, reviews and testimonials are more important than ever before. To boost your business profile, ask willing shoppers to post about your store via social media for an immediate discount. In addition, keep an up-to-date database that records buyer behaviour. You can then set up tailored email campaigns and reward customers with unique offers accordingly.
Retailers need digital to survive
In summary, it’s not easy to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. However, sales in the health and sustainability industries are thriving – and retailers should be taking advantage. Those open to implementing digital marketing solutions will find success and grow.
To enquire about website development, SEO, SEM, social media, database management or email campaigns, contact Radi at If You Build It for a free chat.