Managing Your Business

 

12 06 2016

12 06 2016

Retailers Should Embrace Digital Technology This Holiday Season

Black Friday might be over, but the holiday shopping rush is far from done.

As consumers continue to stream into stores to buy gifts for their loved ones throughout December, it’s critical that retailers do everything they can to attract customers. This year, there is an obvious trend that business owners need to capitalize on if they’re going to be successful: digital selling.

E-commerce is taking up more and more of the retail market as customers embrace the convenience and simplicity of shopping online. To ensure retailers maximize their revenue from online sales, they need to optimize their websites as soon as possible – which includes making websites friendly for mobile users – and update product descriptions and prices to make sure they’re accurate. Business owners also need to take their marketing digital by utilizing email campaigns and mobile advertisements to target consumers on platforms they use frequently.

Don’t let your website crash

It doesn’t matter how a fancy a company’s website is if it doesn’t work. Before the holiday craze is upon them, retailers need to make sure their websites will be able to handle the increased traffic holiday shoppers bring to many stores. This might mean increasing the size of a store’s server or updating a site with a content delivery system. This will allow business owners to spread their online traffic to multiple locations throughout their networks, which will decrease the risk of a site crashing, according to Live Chat.

Business owners who are concerned about their websites should consult a professional hosting service that will handle traffic and provide technical support for any issues that might arise. For entrepreneurs who don’t think they have room in their budgets to purchase this service or make additional upgrades to their website, alternative business loans offer a quick and painless way for business owners to get cash fast to finance all of their holiday retail needs.

But site traffic should be far from business owners’ only e-commerce concern if they’re going to maximize revenue during this busy period. Entrepreneurs need to update their websites to reflect current deals and inventory. To really go the extra mile, business owners should optimize their sites for SEO to make sure that it is easy for customers to search for merchandise on the company’s website. Additionally, businesses have to make sure their websites are smartphone-friendly. Sales from mobile devices are expected to make up 39 percent of all e-commerce transactions by 2018, according to Statista. This demonstrates the growing need for companies to have a strong digital marketing strategy to not only drive traffic online but in stores also.

Don’t underestimate the power of email

A personalized email can go a long way toward getting consumers to purchase something. Businesses can advertise holiday deals and promotions ahead of time to generate customer interest in the store. Make every consumer feel special by addressing them by their name in each correspondence, and offer them exclusive deals catered to their specific interests. Taking the time to personalize every email translates into a higher clickthrough rate for a business, according to HubSpot.

This means small business owners should be leveraging their consumer data to create customized content for each customer who has signed up for the company’s email newsletter. In tandem with a retailer’s social media efforts, an effective email campaign can make a huge difference in getting consumers through the door or onto a company’s website this holiday season. To supplement both of these efforts, business owners should also consider utilizing mobile marketing.

Catch consumers on the go

Marketers are always developing new ways to reach consumers. One of the trendiest and most effective ways for retailers to reach consumers in the past year or two has been proximity marketing. This tactic involves retailers partnering with software companies to send text messages to consumers who are close to the store at that time.

Messages such as alerts on deals, promotions and sales encourage the shopper to step into the store while they’re already out and about, and this form of advertising is becoming increasingly popular for retailers. Forty-six percent of marketers ranked location data – which is a critical component of proximity marketing – as critical to overall advertising success, according to a report from The Mobile Marketing Association.

Marketers have found this to be a particular useful strategy. In fact, 76 percent of mobile-phone users are more likely to visit shops that send them personalized smartphone offers, according to Vista Retail Support. Twenty-five percent of these shoppers are also more likely to spend more than those who do not receive mobile offers, the source noted.

Business owners looking to increase their advertising and marketing budget quickly should consider applying for a small business loan from an alternative lender. Entrepreneurs can be approved in as little as 24 hours, and they don’t need to jump through as many hoops as they would with traditional lenders.

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