These days, people are pounding their keyboards instead of pavements in search of their favourite brands to buy. As a result of our newfound office space in our sitting rooms and kitchens, the importance of a business’s online shop front has never been more important. Big Commerce & Common Thread Collective report that E-commerce revenue has grown by more than 58% (Commonthread.com) since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Australia.
Consumers want to support local business now more so than ever, the same local businesses that are the backbone of the Australian economy that will help lead the country to success once more in the very near future.
Consumers are going back to basics with their purchasing habits; consumption of travel and luxury goods are being overtaken by outdoor products, household items and even toys and games. This offers those brick and mortar stores that ability to take a slice of the increasing amount of money that is being spent online now. But how?
Much the same as a building, foundation is key when it comes to your online shop front
Without a strong foundation a potential new customer will bounce off your website quicker than you can even say hello and welcome them in the door. When it comes to your online shop front there are many areas that we can discuss in solidifying that foundation but today we are going to focus on 3 specific pillars.
Accurate Business Listings
As restrictions begin to ease across the globe and consumers are getting out and about again, your bricks and mortar stores may also be re-opening their doors for business. While consumers may be looking to physically walk into your store, they are searching online for opening times and this is where the ‘online’ aspect of shop front really comes into its own.
For Google and Bing the business listing data that powers results in map or web searches is managed via Google By Business and Bing Places for Business respectively.
It is vitally important that you as a business owner are giving the most accurate information you can to consumers searching for you. Google reported that 59% of Australians have searched online for ‘what’s open near me’ in the last few weeks.
Keeping your business opening hours up to date is really important, now more so than ever because if you say you’re open and a consumer takes time out of their day to travel to your shop and it’s closed, that creates a negative impression of your brand.
Similarly to having your opening times up to date, offering customers the ability to click and call your shop to find out more information, order ahead or even to enquire if you have particular items in stock, having your correct and active phone number ready for consumers is really important. The thing about search is that the consumers are looking for you. This is not TV, radio or out of home, often those searching already want to buy from you, they just want to know if you’re in a position to give it to them right now.
Click-to-call is not a new feature by any stretch but it is a simple one that can make that users experience with your brand just that little bit smoother. There is also the potential to take this one step further if you are running paid activity to run call tracking as part of your activity. Call tracking can allow you to identify which exact keywords, ads and campaigns are driving the most valuable phone calls to your business and how you can take that information and extract even more value from it.
On Google, call extensions increase the accessibility of your business giving the option for a potential customer to call you direcly from the search results. Google’s Call Ads format is designed specifically for mobile devices to encourage call engagement with your business. Whilst on Facebook, click-to-call capability can be added to ads with a ‘Call Now’ call to action.
Don’t Let Your Site Speed Slow Your Customers Down
The next pillar in your foundation that must be solid as a rock is your website loading speed. Google estimates that one in every two people will leave your website if it does not load within 3 seconds. Just 3 seconds to make that all important first impression on your potential new customer. Work with your website developer and SEO team to ensure that your site is loading as fast as possible to ensure that you make the right first impression.
One way to really make the difference to a users’ first experience with your brand is to send them to an acclerated mobile page (AMP) landing page. AMP is a website publishing technology that enables web pages to load almost instantly on mobile phones. This cuts out that potential for someone to leave before the site has even loaded and makes that very first interaction with the customer the equivalent of a warm welcome if you were there in person to greet them yourself.
Whether using AMP, or improving site speed of your existing site, a faster site makes not just for a better customer experience but will also improve conversion rates and sales.