Today, shopping online is mainstream: in 2017, an estimated 60% of the us population made a purchase online in the past 12 months, up from 47% a decade earlier. But they expect online and offline touchpoints to work together seamlessly: in 2017, 73% of us online adults expect retailers to keep prices consistent between online and physical stores, and 30% say they are less likely to visit a store if the store’s inventory is not available online.
If you’re a wireless cell phone dealer, or repair shop, a lot of customers have different needs to fulfill, all with carrier restrictions (or lack thereof). Regardless of your business, an online presence is still vital to your customers, satisfying their needs, and understanding their buying habits.
Below are 3 different variations on how to achieve an online presence in today’s retail world:
WHO: For those who can’t sell products online
If you have limitations to what your website can contain, start with the fundamentals.
- Responsive Design - To begin, your website should have a responsive design. Consumers are doing more and more research on their phones or tablets in addition using traditional page views on their laptops. Your website content needs to adapt accordingly to whatever device is used to scroll through your content and remain user friendly at the same time.
- Outline products or services you offer - Make sure to have a page or blurb outlining the products or services that your business offers. Your website should be a one-stop shop for customers to get the information they’re looking for.
- Location & Hours - Provide information about store locations, searchable by postal or zip code. Don’t forget to display up to date hours by location, too. It’s the small things that help make your customers lives as easy as possible and provide great experiences!
- Develop your brand - Your website is a great place to develop your brand, showcasing what differentiates you from your competition. Include links to your social media pages, include customer comments, and use unique wording – all communicating your brand to the browsers.
WHO: For those who have a little bit more freedom to sell online
For retailers with slightly more freedom, add the “commerce” element to your website.
- Sell accessories online - Offer your customers the ability to purchase accessories using vendor integrations. This way, order fulfillment and tracking is off your plate and yet, you’ve opened a new revenue stream for your business and expanded your offering to your customers. Offering these products for purchase can be done by adding a ‘Shop’ button to your existing website. This directs customers to a page where they can browse products available through your vendor(s) of choice. When the shopper purchases an accessory on your website, the vendor is notified. They then pick, pack, and ship the product directly to the customer’s door.
- Emailing customers – Through the online purchase process, you are provided with two additional touch points to your customers. Firstly, sending them an electronic invoice of what they ordered online and secondly, providing them shipping information once it becomes available. This helps build a relationship with your customers while also creating brand awareness. By adding commerce, you’re providing more consistent experiences for customers shopping online and instore — a step towards omnichannel.
WHO: For those who are industry leaders providing an omnichannel experience
If your business is without limitations to your website, choose to lead the industry by providing great experiences to customers through an omnichannel experience. In addition to the basics and Commerce portion mentioned in solution 1 and 2, offer customers all the information found in store, online.
- Integrate e-commerce with your POS - Start by integrating your e-commerce solution with your POS for real-time pricing and inventory availability by location. By providing this information online, you will increase the likelihood of customers coming into store.
- Buy Online Ship to Home/Reserve Online Pick-up in store - Provide your customers the options to Buy Online and Ship to Home with Return in Store, or Reserve Online Pick-up in Store. Accessories can easily be purchased online and shipped to home however phones are a different story. Because we don’t usually have the ability to sell mobile devices online — given the complicated process of upgrading or activating required — by offering reserve online pick up in store, customers could still reserve their new device and come in-store to complete the transaction.
- Multi-store fulfillment - Taking it further, establish single-store and multi-store fulfilment as well as vendor integration. By doing this, not only can you can better move in-store inventory, keeping it fresh, you will lower your business’s risk of getting stuck with out of date products. With a complete e-commerce solution, you will see growth - both with your returning customer base and your revenues.
Curious to learn more ways to becoming an industry leader? Check out our whitepaper on Why Omnichannel is Critically Important to Wireless Retailers