If the emergence of companies like bol.com and Amazon has taught us one thing, then it is that online is without a doubt the future. The modern entrepreneur has understood this not only since yesterday, but years ago, and keeps it thoughtful online marketing on strategy.
Digitization of the shopping street
Around 2010 the shopping streets started to run more empty and the digital shopping baskets fuller. Have you definitely missed the boat if as an entrepreneur you have little or no success online? Fortunately not, because around 90% of retail spending is 'just' still done offline. Nevertheless, an overdue online marketing policy can be disastrous: Intertoys will go bankrupt at the start of 2019 and that, according to the management, is due to an unexpectedly fast transition to online within the industry. That 90% shrinks every year, so it's high time to hit the road online!
Traditional products in a digital world
The estimation error that many companies make is that there are products and services that are suitable for online, but that there are also products and services that are not. Bol.com started as an online bookstore. After all, people judge books on the cover, author, back cover and opening paragraph. Simple things to make visible online.
But make no mistake: the last few years have shown that almost everyone product finds its way online. Also products that were seen as typically offline ten or fifteen years ago, such as doing fresh groceries (Picnic, HelloFresh) or buying new clothing.
The switch to online brings countless opportunities. It is easier for you to reach a large audience outside your own region and thus build up a niche. You can also keep your costs lower because you don't need a showroom at a top location. But it also has disadvantages, such as a growing number of competitors. As a random telephone store, you now suddenly have competition from, for example, an Amazon or an AliExpress from China. And such parties win at least by assortment.
Online therefore also requires a marketing strategy that is suitable for the online world. Simply put a webshop online and then expect your customers to come over, it doesn't work that way. After all, online you do not have that nice shop window that stands out in the shopping street, Intertoys has also noticed, but you have to tap into a different barrel.
Online marketing requires a radically different approach to your customers, which can cause problems for traditional entrepreneurs. Because what is online marketing? And how do you start with that?
The following applies to every webshop entrepreneur: you will never be the cheapest. After all, you are not an Amazon with all its efficiency, scale and tax benefits. So how do you distinguish yourself? How do you bring your strong qualities in the offline world to the online environment?
Imagine a website like Amazon as a real store: infinite rows of shelves with thousands of products, advertisements, offers and saved wish lists all around you, and then also a host of external sellers trying to sell their own products. How relaxing is that shopping?
Bringing your store online ... and vice versa
But then your store. You take time for your customer, greet him or her personally and introduce yourself. Do you want to have a nice cup of coffee? You recognize repeat customers. You know what your regular customers find interesting and think along with them. You cultivate personal ties and thus offer added value. The trick is to bring that feeling to your online environment. Remind customers of their stored products or wish lists when the holidays come. Address customers in your newsletter or personal dashboard with their first name. And offer workshops, tastings or the puppet doctor for children. Matters that, in addition to experience, also create bonding and to meet that online customer offline. In short, turn it into something personal and local. Because that is something that an Amazon will never be able or willing to do.
Do you have difficulty with all this and you cannot solve it? Then think about hiring an online marketing professional. It is an investment, but one that can pay for itself several times.