There is no doubt about it – retail is hard.

Opening a store requires a large financial investment and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  Once the shop doors are opened you quickly realize that all the work to get to that stage was child’s play in comparison to the unending amount of work to keep those doors open! The hiring and training of staff, assigning shifts, meeting payroll, doing stock takes and stock ordering…the list goes on!

Aside from all this however your number one priority is attracting customers. You need to continually find new customers and retain your existing ones. All of the hard work that goes into keeping your shop doors open is lost unless customers continue to walk through them.

So what do you do to attract customers? You might have a catching window display or a great loyalty programme or rely on word of mouth. However one of the mediums that you can’t ignore in today’s world is being online. More and more people are turning to their smartphones seeking answers to every conceivable type of query. So you need to get your store online to ensure you provide the answers to relevant shopper queries.

The big challenge for retailers when it comes to getting online is what to do and how much to spend. This will of course vary from retailer to retailer depending on their needs and the desired return on investment for their business. That being said the one job your online presence must do for your business is help people to easily find your shop.

 To help you achieve that goal we have put together a list of 5 simple tips:

1. Cover The Basics

According to research by comScore shop contact details is one of the primary pieces of information sought by consumers while searching online. Should people want to ring to enquire about a new product range they saw on your Facebook page they shouldn’t have to resort to Googling your telephone number. So make sure that your contact details e.g. phone number and address, are prominently visible on your website and social media pages.

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2. Location, Location, Location

Make sure that your location pin is correct on Google Maps. 30% of mobile searches are related to location, so it is vital that the pin location for your store is spot on! People are more likely to visit your store if they know where to find you.

Also don’t forget to cater for all age groups when it comes to location details. For example some people might not use Google Maps, therefore add information like “right beside the train station on XYZ street, opposite ABC park”  to help people make their way to your store.

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3. Opening Hours

54% of consumers use their smartphones to search for business hours. You might be surprised to learn how many retailers fail to include this basic information online. We regularly need to trawl the internet early on a Sunday morning to see if any local pharmacies are open at 9am to buy much needed pain killers or baby formula. So display your store’s opening hours and customers will thank you by making the early morning dash to your shop door.

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4. List The Products You Sell

If you followed tips 1 through to 3 your store should be easily found online by someone who knows the store name and is looking to see where you’re located or when you’re open. This will capture your existing customers and some customers who may have heard about your store e.g. through word of mouth. But what about those potential new customers who have never heard of your store. How are they going to find you?

One way is to list your products online so that your shop comes up in results for product search queries. We can help with this. According to research by Google, 6 in 10 internet users check whether a product is available in a local store before visiting it.

However the work required to set-up and maintain such a complete product list is labour intensive and time consuming. Listing some of your most sought after brands is a good place to start. For example, if you are a bike shop you could list all the bike brands together with some of the more popular apparel brands. That way you should capture some new search traffic to your website.

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5. Review, Measure and Update

As any good programmer or web designer will tell you the best way to make sure your website is performing as expected is to test it.

Google Analytics is a simple tool that provides insights into people’s behaviour on your website. We know that the average time spent on most websites is very short. Therefore you should design your page to ensure it grabs the attention of all those restless internet users and gives them the important information about your store quickly. Your website should not feel like a game of treasure hunt, all the key store information should be displayed prominently.

Two simple things you can check is the average time people spend on your page and what percentage of people scroll past page one. If you discover that most people spend less than one minute on your page and don’t scroll past page one than you may need place the contact details and store openings hours for your shop at the top of the page.

Check out this beginners guide to using Google analytics.



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