For all the changes that have taken place in the business world over the last 10 or 15 years because of the Internet, it sometimes gets lost that things are changing off-line, too, and not only because of technology. Regardless of whether you are clicking a mouse or climbing into your car, the way we shop and buy is constantly evolving.
One of the lessons that come from this evolution, and one that we think has a lot of merit for online marketers, is the rise of the mega-retailer or “anchor store.”
Just a few decades ago, when shopping malls were in vogue, anchor stores were the retailers that most shoppers frequented from time to time. They were the big department stores, well-known shops, and entertainment attractions that were sure to draw people and families in. They were “anchors” in the sense that they always kept money coming in, while the other retailers around them might change.
These days, the megastores are just around the corner – they’re on the web, too, separating themselves from the smaller retailers. While buyers consistently flock to sites like Amazon and eBay, it’s the specialty online stores that rise and fall, do well or go bust.
The trick, then, becomes in figuring out how to become a Web destination, rather than an online store that people simply stumbled past when looking through the search listings. Here are five tips to make your company’s website stand out:
Get specific. Since you aren’t likely to become the next mega-retailer overnight, it makes sense to focus your core business on an area you know you can effectively compete in. Think about who your best customers are, and what you want to offer them, and then make sure every part of your site reflects that.
Be easy to find. Even though you want lots of people coming straight to your site later, that’s never going to happen if some of them can’t find it now. Don’t skip the important step of search engine optimization and web promotion; they are easy, but they lay the groundwork for growth later.
Be a source of news and content. One easy way to consistently draw traffic and viewers is to be the best source of news and advice they can find. Don’t let anything happen in your industry without offering some kind of insight. Over time, people will learn to stop by your site first.
Let people do more than shop. Stores come and go, but communities endure and go on for long stretches of time. Make sure you have a blog, social media profiles, message forums, and anything else you can think of that would encourage your customers to not only provide feedback, but use your site as a place to meet and organize around their interests. The more reasons they have to “stop in” on a regular basis, the more often they are going to end up buying from you.
Marcy Design can help you come up with a Web design and online marketing plan to turn your website into an Internet destination. Talk with us today to find out how easy it is to get started.