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Published July 03, 2019
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Sarah Hamlin, Wyoming SBDC Network regional director
Let us face it: Online shopping is here to stay.
In addition to seeing an increase in online sales, we also are seeing an increase in offline sales influenced by what customers search for online. What this means is that customers encounter an online retail experience that is personalized, well-organized, visual and designed to lead them naturally and efficiently toward a purchase.
Main Street retailers can take a cue from e-commerce sites by incorporating the very best of the online retail experience into their brick-and-mortar shops by following these tips:
-- Identify your target market. It all starts with knowing who your likely customers are and what value your product or service provides to them. If you are in business and feeling stuck, start by making a list of the qualities that make up your very favorite customers.
-- Define and organize your space. When you think back to your favorite customers, are they in and out in under five minutes, or do they linger and chat with your staff and other customers? You want there to be a consistent style and function to your store that speaks to this. A well-organized store is one that makes your customers feel welcome and comfortable, making the path to purchasing much easier.
-- Provide a sequential experience and visual communication that supports it. Spend some time thinking about how customers move through your store. If I have a bookstore and I know that fiction gets customers into the door, I might have my fiction and bestsellers right in front. I also might have signage pointing customers to other popular sections, which will drive them deeper into the store.
-- Don't underestimate the Importance of good customer service. The retail experience you’ve created for customers hinges on having staff who are able -- and available -- to answer questions. Encourage your staff to give out recommendations and be an active participant in the customer experience.
By incorporating the best of the online shopping experience into your brick-and-mortar retail space, you’re not only making it easier for customers to purchase your product, but you’re also building a relationship with them that will result in a loyal customer base and repeat business.
For more help on creating a welcoming appearance that drives sales, contact your local Wyoming (SBDC) Network adviser today for no-cost, confidential advice and technical assistance at www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.