Showrooming on the Rise: Why Your Business Needs a Strong Online Shopping Presence

Showrooming is a relatively new concept in the world of retail shopping, but it’s one that’s harming many real-world businesses. The term describes when an online shopper visits a retail store in order to view a product that they intend to later buy online.

A recent study by IBM shows that it’s on the rise. In fact, a whopping 50% of online sales are driven by showrooming.

It’s likely that the increase in popularity of mobile decides is a factor, since they make it easier than ever to do an instant price check. Why buy in a store now when you can wait a few days and have the same product delivered to your door for less money?

The practice has become a problem for many retail industries, and even though electronic stores such as Best Buy have received the most attention from the showrooming epidemic, clothing stores, shoe shoes, and even furniture stores have all been affected by the practice.

The loss in revenue due to showrooming has caused many of the large retail stores to shrink their store space, as it no longer becomes economical to spend money on such a large area when customers would rather buy online.

A few retail stores have actually taken to the shocking trend of charging customers a $5 “looking-fee.” Other retail stores have simply adopted a “price match guarantee” against online retail store prices.

Combat Showrooming: Build a Strong Online Shopping Presence

The easiest and most effective way to combat showrooming is to embrace the changing market trends and build an online shopping presence. The process can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those businesses that are new to technology. However, if you set out to build your online presence in a smart and deliberate way, there is no reason why you should not succeed.

Here are three quick ideas to think about when trying to improve your online presence.

  • Add E-commerce to your site—A website can be a great marketing and advertising tool for your products and business in general, but if you are really looking to take advantage of the growing internet retail market, optimizing your website to sell your products is the way to go. It can be a huge, frightening step in expanding your business, but if you do it correctly, the sales will come.
  • An easy to use mobile site—Having a website is simply not enough. Many online shoppers browse the internet on their smartphones or tablets, and making sure that your website is optimized for mobile viewing can be a huge difference in whether or not your products are purchased online.
  • Allow in-store pick-up—Optimizing your website to allow in-store pick-ups is a great way to boost your online sales presence and capture a share of the growing market. Many people continue to shop using a combination of online and in-store purchases, and allowing store pick-up is a great way to get shoppers into your store and viewing more products.

Pinterest’s New Business Accounts: Does Your Company Need One?

Pinterest’s New Business Accounts: Does Your Company Need One?

Well, here’s the short answer: if your business used to have a regular account on Pinterest and you want to stay on the site and use it for commercial purposes, you absolutely need a business account.

Why? Because Pinterest says so. They are making it mandatory for all commercial businesses on the site to get a business account and agree to the business terms of service.

What are the Benefits of the New Pinterest Business Account?

The new business accounts offer several benefits for companies over the old personal ones, such as real business account names (Bed, Bath & Beyond can finally just enter their name http://pinterest.com/bedbathbeyond/ instead of being “First name: Bed, Bath; Last name: & Beyond”) and access to educational materials on how to best use the site for marketing.

Pinterest also promises additional business-exclusive features in the future. The rumor mill thinks these could include ‘Buy Now’ buttons, targeted ads, business analytics, and more. These new bells and whistles would make it an even more powerful social networking tool.

Who & How Can Benefit from Pinterest Business Account?

If your company isn’t on Pinterest yet, here are several reasons why you might want to consider getting a business account:

Your Business Produces Visual Results

Photography, web design, cooking, interior design, clothing, arts and crafts, you name it. Businesses with any kind of visually stimulating products or services can do extremely well on Pinterest because the site is all about catching people’s eyes.

Attract Attention to Your Company Through Visuals Related to Your Niche

Huh? What does that mean? Well, let’s say that you run a pet insurance company or do social media marketing. Not necessarily the most visual professions. But if you’re willing to pin things that aren’t specifically related to your company, you can still raise the profile of your company by getting people to repin and click over to your site. The insurance company might pin pet health tips or even just pics of cute dogs and cats, while the marketing company can pin news in the advertising world and infographics.

It’s Part of the Holy Social Sharing Trinity

Pinterest’s rapid ascension in the social media landscape has put it right up there with Facebook and Twitter – at least in terms of the public consciousness – and the site encourages interaction between those two giants, sharing traffic and funneling visitors to your various profiles and sites. Rather than siphoning traffic from each other, putting pages and accounts on these three social media sites can help grow your entire following and bring more visitors to your site.

Your Website Could Be More Social

When discussing the website goals of a new client, we often ask “What about social media integration?”. This question is often met with uncertainty, or the client simply assumes that their website or business is inapplicable to the social media giants. However, now more than ever you should be taking advantage of social media sites as they can be one of the best promotional tools in your online marketing strategy.

Social Media sites (specifically Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +), have all realized that their services are not just for individuals. Every day, thousands of businesses and organizations are creating new social media accounts in hopes of attracting more potential customers to their websites. The reasons are simple: there is an enormous amount of potential clients that can be easily reached by leveraging social media tools.

Facebook is set to achieve one billion users by August 2012 – that’s one in seven people on the planet. At the time of this article, Twitter has an impressive 150 million users, and LinkedIn and Google + are also growing exponentially every year.

To reach this vast audience, we often recommend that your social media contributions are a delicate balance of both useful information and promotional material. If your social media content is too heavy with business promotion you will likely not attract many users, followers, or likers, as no one is interested in a social media site full of ads. Rather we suggest that you submit helpful and timely news or tips through social media, and use direct promotion sparingly.

Many clients feel that the addition of social media sites will become an administrative burden to properly maintain and update. At Rebel Trail, we have addressed these concerns by developing Content Management Systems (CMS) that will integrate and disseminate information from one source to multiple online destinations. For example, with our content management systems, you can easily input a news article or tip, and instantly push the content to your website, Facebook profile, Twitter feed, Google + page, and several other social media sites. This saves a tremendous amount of time in keeping all of your sites up to date with current information.

Social media integration can also give you a big boost with the search engines. Search engine sites like Google specifically look for updated content and social media links. These sites tend to give preference to websites with frequently updated content and links to associated social media sites. We have helped many clients achieve top placement with the search engines by simply developing a social media strategy for them – and in many cases the results have been highly impressive.

To discuss the benefits that social media integration can bring to your website, contact Rebel Trail today.