Your customers are online, are YOU?
Meet your customer where they are – in this case, virtually. Especially in the era of Covid, people are searching for destinations online ahead of time. Use your web presence to let them know what products you carry (food service, specialty items, alcohol/tobacco), show them that your store is clean and bright, plus provide basics such as your hours and contact information.
Your Virtual Store Front
When was the last time you Googled your store directly? What about generic search terms, like ‘convenience store in Reno’ or ‘neighborhood market in Vancouver’? How high was your store on the list? Even customers who already intend to visit your location may research ahead of time to ensure you will carry the items they need.
Research indicates that 75% of users admit to making judgements about a company based on their website (Stanford University). Don’t ignore this aspect of your company’s reputation, and don’t settle with a sub-par website.
For the convenience industry, it is incredibly likely that customers will be using mobile devices to search before a quick trip, so mobile responsiveness is important.
Treat your website like you would your store’s façade – the first thing a customer sees and an important part of that customer’s decision on whether to enter your store or not.
More than just Facebook
If your entire web presence relies on a third-party page like Facebook, it is unlikely your search engine placement will be satisfactory unless the potential customer is already searching for you by name. An independent website allows you to control your SEO and ensure your company is showing up to the right people. Including things that make your store special or shows it has personality can draw in more patrons. Especially as a single store or small chain, this can help you cultivate a strong loyal customer base.
Beyond that younger customers have been moving away from Facebook. It is also more difficult to keep important information at the top of your Facebook page if you post about promotions, new products, and events with any frequency. A fixed homepage allows you to control the information flow. From your website you can still direct visitors to your social media accounts to find the latest updates while controlling visitors’ first impressions of your business.
Social media has it’s place, especially for promoting new offerings, generating sharable content, and keeping your store front-of-mind. Each media channel has a different target audience and atmosphere, but don’t feel you need to be present on all of them. Choose the ones relevant to your business and post high quality, relevant content regularly.
Your Google map search result is also important. Take ownership of it through Google to ensure your hours, contact information, and photos are accurate and high quality.
Research shows that 90% of consumers will read online reviews before visiting a business (BrightLocal). It’s like (positive) peer pressure!
Employees can ask customers to take the time to leave a review after positive in store interactions. Unobtrusive counter or door signage can also let them know how much reviews can help out your store. Think about it – any time you have a service person to your house or call customer support, you get a request for feedback – people are accustomed to these requests and are happy to help out. Respond to reviews (negative and positive) and solicit reviews from customers in store.
Take your best reviews and publish them on your social media or website as social proof, customers like what you’re doing and you can use that to influence new customers. You can’t control the order in which Facebook and Google reviews are displayed on those sites, but you can pick the best experiences to showcase on your own site.
Capitol can help!
Let Capitol’s marketing and design experts help you improve your web presence.