If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s the importance of having an online presence (thank you, COVID-19). You may have thought that having a company website was simply a novel idea before, but now it has become a necessity for business survival. The question to ask yourself at this point is not “why?” but “which one?”
As an independent Christian retailer, how do you decide which web solution is right for you?
Before you begin, here are some questions to consider:
What do you want to accomplish with your website? Do you want to sell product online or do you want to drive them to your physical location for in-store purchase only?
How much control do you want to have over updating store information, promoting proprietary products and announcing events?
How much time and expertise do you have available for monitoring and developing the site?
Do you want to personally handle customer service questions or do you want to have a team manage this?
Which user features are most important to your online visitors, such as searchability, mobile usability and ease of check out?
Does this solution reflect your store?
What is the return on investment?
Now that you know what you are looking for in a web solution, the following is an overview of each of the options currently available within our industry.
submitted by The Parable Group
Because we are committed to the success and sustenance of Christian retailers, The Parable Group has recently developed a new retail website platform with a clean, modern design that aims to drive local web visitors into your store. Each website is built with an easy in-store pickup process, a fully integrated Christian product database and customization options to represent your store’s image, logo, color and unique local story.
Launch a Website You’re Proud to Promote
You should be proud to send your customers to visit your website because the aim of the website should be to direct that visitor into your store. You should feel confident that the web visitor will become an in-store visitor who is eager to browse your shop. Show the shopper what is new and on sale. Let them check on-hand inventory on their mobile phone so they can see what you have in your store. And give them a robust and precise search feature to help them quickly find what they want.
These consumer stats guide how we aim to help you serve today’s shoppers:
88% of shoppers research online before they purchase online or in-store (pymnts.com source)
46% of shoppers report they prefer to buy in a physical location (retaildive.com source)
Your website should demonstrate your local community presence and reflect your in-store promotions, all while helping you sell more product in your stores! Branded Websites by The Parable Group aim to do all of this and more. Visit www.parablegroup.com to learn more or get in touch. We would be honored to serve you.
submitted by Innovative Signature Marketing
For over 20 years, Innovative has been providing Christian retailers enhanced Signature Marketing online tools and promotions to increase store traffic and sales every day. Innovative tools help shoppers find the products and prices they want on retailers’ websites. Store contact info and directions, along with store stock and order pick-up, bring customers into the store.
With the acceleration of customers’ digital usage due to COVID-19, Signature Marketing tools are proven effective in helping retailers stay connected with their customers and helping new customers discover their store. By promoting over 200,000 life-changing Christian products and promotions where customers are searching, retailers gain new customers and drive sales.
Retailer Signature Websites encourage customers to shop and purchase from Christian retailers with their large selection of Christian products, expertise and sale promotions. Retailer products are featured available for immediate purchase in-store, with order pickup or secure online ordering with 24-hour shipping. Customers receive free shipping on orders over $69, increasing their purchases.
Each retailer’s Signature Website promotes their store and tells their own story. Retailers’ real-time ability to update their store info, exclusive services and products, upcoming events and e-commerce has been invaluable during the recent store closings. Stores that are a part of a catalog marketing group have their current promotion featured on their homepage with their promoted products featured at catalog prices with store stock levels.
Signature Marketing: Targets Customers Where They Search
87% of shoppers start their product search online
13,000+ shoppers visit retailer’s website annually
[Annual Store Median]
Store contact and directions info is in shoppers’ top 5 pages viewed
68% of shoppers discover the store by searching for products on Google search
32% of shoppers are return customers to retailer’s website
Additionally, weekly emails and monthly custom emails can drive customers in and promote store events, birthday clubs and catalog promotions. Retailers enhance their customer shopping experience and increase sales with their Signature in-store personalized promotion signs each month and optional monthly video promotions in-store and on Facebook.
If you don’t have a store website, there are plenty of options for creating your own by using a template from a website builder, many of which are free. Some of the most common are Wix, Squarespace, Shopify and Weebly. These sites also include the option for e-commerce, which enables you to securely sell products online. If you go this route, Bookstore Manager also offers the capability to connect your POS and only sell online what you have in stock.
By creating your own website, you have access to update and customize your site at any time. While most website builders are user friendly, you will still need to ensure that you have the manpower and knowledge to monitor the site on a regular basis. You are also responsible for handling customer service questions and concerns. But by managing your own site, you can also achieve a positive return on your investment. CRA