While the internet is a great medium for finding new customers even for small local businesses and stores, not many of those really take advantage of this opportunity. But there are ways local businesses can get over “the static website” syndrome and start engaging online visitors and turning them into customers. Here are a few ideas about how to transform the website of your local business into a real customer channel whose main job is to increase conversions.
1. Clearly identify the purpose of your website. And “present your company, store or business” is out of question. These are areas any website is supposed to cover anyway.
To increase conversions, you have to think that a real website contributes just as much as any other form of publicity to the business.
Depending on your store’s profile a real objective can be as follows:
– For a local food specialties store : attracting visitors to the brick and mortar store
– For a personalized cakes or patisserie store: making visitors preorder online and then pick up the products at the local store or convincing people from your region to order online and then deliver the cakes
– For a tailor or made to measure shop: get more online appointments
The objective you define will help you identify your main call to action. If you want the visitors of your website to be more easily converted into customers, make the call to action one of the central elements of the website. Also, make it easy for them to fulfill the desired action: create an easy to use form, some visible instructions and provide all the details associated with the ordering, appointment etc.
Citycake.fr is a website that brings together a series of French patisseries and confectionaries from the Parisian area. The website offers delivery services for all of them. The home page acts like a great landing page: it makes clear what services the website offers and it immediately gives visitors the occasion to order online.
Richardjames.co.uk is the website of a London based tailoring and made to measure business. Here’s how they designed their call to action to offer three alternatives.
2. Use geolocalized content. The whole idea behind conversion rate optimization is to transform a greater proportion of the traffic your website receives into buying customers. I think this idea can also be extended to getting the right traffic from the beginning, composed of visitors more inclined to convert. For this to happen, create content that clearly states the area where your store operates or delivers its products.
Hummingbirdbakery.com always inserts in their texts the fact that they are London based and they deliver in the London area. Also, they provide other extensive information about deliveries.
Konditorandcook.com even creates special offers based on the proximity of the delivery.
3. Use your website to create promotions that will attract customers in your store. It all happens in your store, but it starts on the web. So initiate online your sales through vouchers, special discounts, members only offers and then continue them in your brick and mortar store.
Frenchtailor.com offers a free scarf to their Facebook fans, which has to be picked in the store. This is a nice idea for inviting people to the real store and creating new leads.
4. Translate online the advantages of a real store. In a brick and mortar store you have personalized assistance, and a maximum closeness to the products. You can analyze products and get direct advice from experiences personnel.
In an online store you can replicate these advantages by creating a chat or a customer hotline. People will enjoy the practicality of finding quick information online, before they go to the actual store.
Konditorandcook.com has created in these regards the “Cake Hotline”, which they double with a chat.
5. Emphasize your local history and characteristics and being a part of the community. Your target audience is the people that live in your area. Reinforce your presence in the community by emphasizing the awards, certificates or recognitions you received. If you are a part of a local branch or professional organization, don’t forget to mention it.
Laduree.com beautifully shows how the story of the brand is intertwined with the history of Paris and its traditional tea rooms.
6. Use smart interactions and on-page variables to personalize the communication with visitors and increase conversions. When your target audience is already restricted to a certain area, having a quality communication can help you better engage them and retain them on the website.
You can be as creatively as you wish: propose free delivery on certain days, discounts to returning customers, special offers etc.
The great thing with smart interactions is that they don’t require you to make permanent or complex changes on the website. And second, you can create as many as you wish, whenever you feel like it.
You can be small business owner or a small online businesses marketer, either way, managing this kind of websites is a great experience. You can get to know them in detail and experiment with different tactics that increase conversions by taking geolocalization into account.