Print fliers and ads in the student newspaper are all still great, important ways to market your store, but if you aren't successfully marketing yourself online, you're missing out. In this article contributed to Retail Minded by Brendan Morrissey, you'll see why an effective digital strategy is so important for stores today, and how a mobile-friendly site can make all the difference. Read the whole story here.
Digital Marketing Matters
Local businesses and retailers are presented with an array of challenges and opportunities in 2015. Today’s consumer is using the Internet more than ever to research purchasing decisions. In fact, the Millennial generation are using their mobile devices and the Internet to help them research large considered purchases, including cars, furniture and home appliances, before the purchase is made. Local businesses and independent retailers, take note. This is an important generational habit that is greatly influencing the path to purchase.
According to comScore, more than 90 percent of consumers are using online search as the first step in a purchasing decision—one of the 24 digital touch points the average consumer has on their way to making a purchase (Think with Google). As your business considers how to drive traffic into your store, the Internet is a key arena that your business should have a presence in. In today’s digital age, an online presence and digital marketing — such as a website or online ad — is providing the local impact of yesteryear’s TV ads or highway billboards.
Is there a payoff to having a website? Yes. IDC estimates that annual revenue for businesses with a website eclipses $5 million a year (on average), opposed to the $3.6 million businesses earn without a website. Building a presence online — for both desktop and mobile devices — is just one part of the digital marketing equation. As the shift in consumer habits trends towards mobile devices and electronics, your local business can be implementing things today to target and address local consumers in your neighborhood.
Mobile is Key in 2015
On April 21, Google altered their popular search engine so mobile friendliness is now considered a ranking signal in mobile-based searches. This makes it more difficult for local businesses to be found in a mobile search. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, this change may impact what is shown to consumers on their mobile device within a related search query. This shift makes it more challenging for local businesses, just like yours, to compete with Big Box retailers who have more financial assets and digital marketing experience to help them pull off larger campaigns and marketing tactics.
In fact if your website is not yet mobile-optimized, you’re not alone. Hibu estimates that 46 percent of businesses in the U.S. do not have a mobile-optimized website. If your business is concerned about how this mobile shift will impact website traffic, there are several tips and best practices for getting your business on-track:
- Evaluate the mobile readiness of your website: Google has set up an easy-to-use tool, conveniently named “Mobile-Friendly Test,” for you to determine whether your website is mobile ready or not.
- Optimize for mobile: (Ed. note: check out MBS inSite!)
Mobile is just as much a current trend as it is the future of retail. More consumers — not just Millennials — are purchasing smartphones and tablets, which means even more will be using their mobile device to research products and brands online. Creating a presence for your business online is an imperative move, not just for your digital marketing efforts, but also for the business in general. You will find an increase in foot traffic, and hopefully, too, sales, as a result of your strategic digital and online marketing efforts.