Do you have a store website? If you don’t, are you planning on setting one up?
When pressed for an answer, a lot of local brick and mortar retailers feel they don’t need a website, especially if they don’t sell online.
Remember the yellow pages? You know, that big book where you page through by category, then locate a list of shops, then find out which ones are close to you, then get their phone numbers, then call the shops to find out hours and if they carry the products you’re looking for.
Wow. Believe it or not, that was how people prepared to “go shopping” at a local store. Those days are gone!
While the numbers vary, surveys show that about 70% of shoppers search online when they’re looking for a retail shop. In today’s connected world, if you’re not online, you’re invisible! Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of having an online presence through your own website.
Where Do Websites Come From?
If you have no clue about the internet or domain names, you’re going to either enlist someone who does or use one of the easy DIY website creation services. Want to try it yourself? Search “DIY website.” You’ll find many sites that hold your hand through the entire process of obtaining a domain name, like “bobsaquaticparadise.com.” You’ll be able to build your website online, through a WYSIWYG interface. Just drag and drop text and images where you want them. Many of these companies also provide design help if you don’t feel confident creating your own web layout. But what should your website include? Keep reading to find out all the basic features any good website will have.
Who, What, When, and Where?
One of the first things people look for when they land on a website is confirmation that they’re at the right place. Typically, a customer will automatically look for the name of the business before they look at products and services. They also scan for the address. When laying out your site, drop in a map widget, making it easy for customers to get to your shop. A phone number is important when someone is looking for product or service and wants to ask if you can supply it. Use these contacts as a way to promote and sell your goods and services. Be sure to list store hours. It will cut down nuisance calls asking if you’re open today.
What’s Your Specialty?
If your shop specializes in reef aquariums, the website should look “reef-centric.” You’ll want to include some type of graphics or images that make it clear corals and reef fish are your focus. If the business handles everything including ponds, tropical fish, and marine aquatics, make it visibly clear that the shop is an A to Z supplier. Don’t forget to list some of the product categories you stock. Does “A to Z” mean you carry a full array of frozen or live foods? Do you have protein skimmers? How about aquariums? Making it clear that you have more than the basic supplies will draw in new customers.
Do You Carry…
Most brick and mortar shops carry high-profile brands of equipment and supplies. It’s helpful to provide a list of brands you routinely stock. Showing you handle major brands as well as niche manufacturers says you’re up to date on what’s happening in the aquarium world. Consider placing some of the brand logos on your site. Most manufacturers provide web-ready images that will drop right into DIY web building programs.
We Can Get That!
Have you ever asked a store clerk if they carry a certain item and you get the standard answer “If it’s not on the shelf, we don’t have it”? A better answer is “I can have that for you by Wednesday!” The idea is to keep customers spending their money at your store, not someplace else. Let them know you can special-order whatever they need. It also gives you a chance to sell them something you do have on-hand that is of equivalent value to the customer. You make the sale and the customer is happy.
We Deliver. We Install. We Service.
Shoppers are looking for value. If you provide “aquatic concierge” services, say it loudly. Even if most customers never use it, it instills confidence that you’re there to help with anything they need. The easier you make it for people to buy an aquarium, the easier it will be to make the sale. No business degree needed to grasp this sales strategy!
Keep the Site Fresh!
With a WYSIWYG website provider, it’s easy change an ad, promote a sale or add a coupon. If you’re having an open house, drop in a little announcement stating date, time and hours. Make it sound fun and worth coming to. The idea is to invite customers to come to the shop. You can even drop in manufacturers product videos direct from YouTube. Let the manufacturers promote and sell the products for you! If you’re really tech savvy, you can post your own video blogs and advertisements!
The Bottom Line
The truth is, you really need a website in today’s competitive aquatics market. Once you get the site laid out and live, it’s easy to update the site with sales, new products and anything else you can think of to drive customers to your business. Before you know it, new customers will be walking through the door explaining how they found your store online and decided to stop by. New customers, delivered right to your door!
To learn more ways to grow your aquarium business, sign up for a Marine Depot Wholesale account or contact us today! We’ve got other helpful wholesale aquarium articles available for you too read with more in the works. Stay tuned!