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Making Brick and Mortar more Digital

Created: 21 Jun 2013
Belinda Charleson's picture
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Should you go mobile? Should you expand your retail business online? Should you build a website and do transactions? What does the Australian shopper want, really?  The universal truth is that the entire world is moving digital, and cell phone usage continues its rise. What add-ons are important? Is there more than one answer? We looked through an eConsultancy study  that asked some of these questions to learn about what people want, and how appropriate Website Security Solutions could help support them having it.

How people buy: Yes, everyone knows people buy online. Additionally, many customers report that they are interested in being able to order online, and collect at the store. For simply using the internet as a route to market, one can piggy-back on the pre-existing online giants like eBay.au to advertise products and move sales. It’s a ‘quick’ way to dip your toes into the digital world, with only basic store front needs. You’ll still need to consider the time and investment in image and presentation.

25% of people in the study above said they wanted to be able to do transactions online for an in-store pickup. With this type of solution a store needs to consider either using PayPal or another ‘instant’ transactional engine, or setting up an account to interface with Yahoo! Small Business. There’s also the option of developing your own transactional website, but if this is not your core business I’d recommend getting a reputable (check references!) company and figuring out how to test their work for security and safety. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has created an eCommerce Guide that’s pretty easy to follow for how to set up your site and what necessary safeguards should be in place. Using Trust Marks has been shown in some A/B split tests to increase conversions and sales. If you use a Symantec SSL certificate, you are entitled to use the most trusted mark on the internet, the Norton Secured Seal.

If your target buyer is younger, then consider social media. A presence on Facebook, Google+, and/or Twitter can help people follow your specials. Don’t forget to link both ways from your social media sites to your online store! Most of the social media sites have already moved to an always on SSL encryption methodology, so it’s a safe way to let customers flow in and out of your site.

Own your brand and your reputation. Poll your own customers to find out where they look for information. Is it Yelp or RayV? Don’t forget to encourage happy people to report their experiences, as younger generations look to peer reviews often to find out about your store. They also do a lot of price shopping online, and look for coupons or deals online. The growing popularity of online coupons is an interesting new development in Australia, given the lacklustre appeal of hard copy coupons here for anything other than petrol.  

If your target buyer is older, they’re less interested in the social media and peer review aspect. However, consider the importance of maps, shop locators, and perhaps even internal shopping maps of a store for product location. And never forget the importance of providing a way for your customers to give feedback, and monitoring the response! People will always tell you want they want, if you ask.

The common thread through all of this is having a site enabled with SSL encryption, and making sure that all the sites, content, and connections to other sites and vendors continue that pervasive, always on SSL approach. Small businesses cannot afford the reputation loss of a data breach. Make sure you invest in ways that protect your customers as well as building your business and moving forward securely.