It still rarely happens that producers, brands or official distributors set up their own online stores. A much more common practice is selling own goods via external dealers, e.g. chain stores or retailers. At the same time, core companies can boost their sales with a number of tools, which will direct the clients who visit their brand’s website to an authorized dealer. Here are the top five tools that will help you increase your sales.
1. Push notifications
Both push notifications (for mobile applications) and web push notifications (for desktop) have been growing increasingly popular in recent years. Especially 2017 and 2018 have witnessed what might be called an unprecedented boom in popularity for those channels of communication. It is quite rare nowadays, while browsing the web, not to stumble upon an alert-style message in either top corner of the screen, asking our permission to notify us separately about new articles, products coming to the market, etc. According to Business of Apps portal, 40% of all notifications of both kinds are delivered by the information pages and e-commerce websites. Every desktop or mobile user receives, on the average, around forty-six notifications per day.
What makes push notifications climb popularity charts so effectively?
Most certainly their efficiency in reaching the customer anytime, anywhere, as they pop up regardless of whether the user has enabled an AdBlock. The customer is required to opt-out and withdraw their consent in order to disable the notifications feed. What is also crucial in their success, configuring and sending both pushand web pushnotifications is a no-brainer either. Depending on how advanced the tool we are using is, any content we wish to send can be easily personalized. So, why should we consider using push notifications on our website? Because that way we can keep our customers up to date in real time on the most recent news concerning our brand, like for example, product rollouts.
2. Where to buy
The where to buy tool is a solution dedicated for brands who run complex, ever scaling websites, which are online product catalogs. These are the websites where the customers can’t order a product directly from the producer. The official product website is usually the first one the clients visit on their path to purchase. The customers are driven to that location because it inspires trust, keeps them updated and relays information that is reliable and 100% accurate. What can be done, however, if our website doesn’t feature the shopping cart option? This is when the where to buysolution comes into play. The integration of this tool into our website makes it easy for the potential client to check which online and offline shops offer their product of interest. At the same time, the client can browse the brand’s website for product options, like availability and price, in their own location.
A where to buy plugin turns out to be an excellent tool for a brand to analyze the traffic both on its own and clients’ websites.
Embedding this sales instrument into our site lets us track shopper behavior as well as benchmark stores where our products sell best, chain store to chain store, dealer to dealer. Monitoring prices of our goods at individual shops, running price analyses, drafting price surging strategies quickly becomes an easy task. What is more, the plugin helps us better regulate the dealer rewards systems to better incentivize those sellers who have best product displays, or who hit the highest turnovers on our goods.
The most important pools of data that can be collected with the where to buytool, are:
- offer availability over time (per store, per category);
- product shelf availability over time;
- price distribution in stores over time (per store, per category);
- unit price distribution in stores.
The above are, of course, only a few examples of the tool’s array of functionalities. How extensively and to what end we’ll be using the plugin depends on proper and solid implementation. As we know, big data has indeed become one of the main tools that can be employed to draft price and product campaigns.
The recent Deloitte report, “Navigating the new digital divide. The influence of digital tools on shopping habits in Poland, 2019”, shows that 20% of respondents searched for product details specifically in brands’ online catalogs. 48% of interviewees browsed a number of product-related websites, including brands’ official sites."
Integration of the where to buy instrument into a website has one more huge advantage. Being easy to implement, it shortcuts the client directly to the seller. What that entails is no annoying ads for the client along the path, no competitors’ products displayed on user’s screen, no cheaper substitutes of our products to extract the shopper from the funnel. What else could a brand desire?
3. If you leave your number, we’ll call you back...
Browsing websites, we can often find a displayed message box, encouraging us to leave our contact data for a prompt call from the sales/brand’s representatives. This is yet another solution that aims to spark customer’s interest in the offer, and, more importantly, to warm them up as a lead. Integrating this tool with our website can be smoothly combined with the implementation of the where to buy instrument. Isn’t that a one tool too many? It might sometimes happen that, even after visiting the website, the client feels they still miss the big picture, or perhaps they’re in two minds about choosing the most suitable product model. One phone call can make a big difference, as being able to consult their choices with a professional builds a strong rapport with the brand.
Some companies combine advanced marketing tools with a selection of message boxes mentioned above. The major advantage here is that the sales funnel can be effectively shortened because the professional agents operating our company helpline can assist clients in selecting merchandise or further patch the customer through to one of the where to buy shops. If they see it fit, they can also recommend a different, perhaps more suitable offer that will better meet client's needs.
As Deloitte reports in its 2019 study on shopping habits in Poland, early interaction with the brand (through a website, helpline, blog, an app, etc.), encouraged 60% of customers to go beyond their original shopping budget.
4. Customer service
Everybody likes to receive red carpet treatment. Oracle & Harris Interactive report claims that as much as 80% of clients are willing to pay more for a better customer service experience. That is precisely why building sustainable customer relations, free from dull conversation scripts, is the success factor for a modern business. The center of our efforts should be turning visits to our website into a highly personalized encounter with our brand for each and every client. Even if we don’t sell our products directly to consumers, why not go the extra mile and offer our visitors a unique browsing experience?
To make effective communication happen, we should be collecting data that can later be used to target clients directly. While planning a promotional campaign, it is a good idea to allocate a separate page to the where to buysolution, send a push notification next, or use personalized mailing which will link the customer with the desired landing page. This strategy will benefit both the user and the brand, as the client can be offered a personalized discount and, at the same time, we can collect statistical data from the campaign we’ve just completed.
Why are we discussing data collection in reference to the best standards of customer service? Mostly because the mentioned users can receive so much more quality in brand-to-customer communication than just a string of marketing emails – we can make sure that the entire decision-making process becomes a one of a kind experience, which the client will be happy to share with their contacts.
5. Big Data
The concept of Big data renders an interesting lot of definitions. Most of all, however, the term denotes large volumes of variable data which are immensely difficult to process, but that also carry massive amount of critical information about our clients, wares, sales networks, distributors, etc. Commerce has embraced quite a number of perfectly usable digital methods with which this data can be reaped, ranging from sales reports sourced from local stores, through a wide selection of data gathering and processing tools from smaller brands, to data gleaned from heavyweights like Google Analytics.
The most common sources of processable data, are:
- analyses of mailing campaigns response and open rates, click through rates, bounce rates, spam reporting. This data allows us to successfully verify our clients’ shopping interests and single out from the pool of offers those that have a high chance to convert to sales;
- analyses of the customer base from online stores. Using this data, we can start building customer segmentation on our brand, which will eventually help us match our content to shoppers’ needs with much higher precision, along the clients’ previous purchases and interests, even according to their gender or place of residence;
- analyses of websites with a where to buytool embedded. This solution greatly expands brand’s knowledge of shoppers’ interests and behaviors while on a search for products. Additionally, it helps to monitor and adjust prices on goods in individual sales channels. By providing us with stock level details from the selected online or offline store, this tool can serve as a perfect means to cooperate with the official resellers and distributors of our products;
- customer surveys, queries, and other instruments for collecting clients’ opinions about areas like product details, quality, or customer service. In this way, we know the levels of customer satisfaction, we are aware of problems clients come across while shopping, things they find annoying, and what for them brings in the wow-factor;
- other analytical tools. There being more than few, brands can employ diverse solutions, quite often ones customized and tuned in specifically for them. It really is crucial to gather the data available and to draw inferences that will later inform our commercial activities. Big data that doesn’t go hand in hand with professional in-depth analyses is just a collection of numbers that are completely meaningless and bring no value whatsoever to our market operations.
Once we collect and process the data, once we use that data to make informative inferences, we will be increasingly able to meet the changing market demands. Even the tiniest clusters of data are essential, because cyclical patterns in market volatility constitute the factors greatly determining the success and failure of the entire sales structure of our products and wares.
Boosting sales – how to act?
First of all, we need to learn how to match the tools at our disposal to products and channels of distribution. Building our brand in the inadequate channel might work to the detriment of the brand itself and our business goals. It might turn out that our sales in brick-and-mortar stores simply hit the roofs, whereas the online shops observe an opposite trend. For that reason, we should select such sales boosting tools that will help us move freely across all channels. Another thing we should bear in mind is that the tools we select must be functional and must present an overview of the brand against the market ecosystem it operates in. Poor selection of tools and inept implementation might not only quickly fail to deliver the expected results, but can also have adverse effects on the sales and brand image. It is a lesson best learned the easy way.