Virtual Brick and Mortar: What is your digital first impression?
When consumers shop on Main Street, what do they look for in their local store? When consumers need a local service, what do they expect from that provider? A pleasurable experience includes quality of product/service, convenience, and a knowledgeable courteous staff. For the consumer to remain loyal or give a referral, the first impression is vital and the consistency of the experience is equally as critical.
A store owner must ensure that the physical storefront is clean, tidy, well designed, has good signage, is easy to find (location, location, location), and is well stocked with product and knowledge. A service business must provide the same level of attention to detail and expertise.
Don’t you hate when you go shopping and the store is not in order, the clothing isn’t sized properly or the inventory is low? Does it aggravate you when the staff has no clue or is less than friendly?
Whether you have thought about your online strategy or environment this way before or not, you DO own a virtual brick and mortar.
What do I mean?
Whether it is a listing on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, MerchantCircle, Yelp, CitySearch, Foursquare, to name a few, or a social media environment (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube), or just your own website, you have a new front door to your business or service.
You remember the old saying, “You only have one shot at a first impression?” What is your digital first impression?
With the explosion of the internet, a great deal of angst, confusion, and competition exists for local businesses. The flip side is that there is a great deal of opportunity. It has created new revenue for a many businesses. Has it for you? It can and should.
Do you want to minimize your angst and confusion while maximizing your opportunity? It starts with admitting that you have a problem – the first step in any recovery. “Hi I’m (fill in your name here), and I need help with my virtual brick and mortar business”. Cyberspace is Main Street USA and you have opened up shop. In fact, it is open 24/7, open while you sleep.
Remember: Business Listing online? BANG!! Storefront. Website? BANG!! Storefront. Mobile site? BANG!! Storefront. Social Media site? BANG!! Storefront.
What is the appearance of those virtual storefronts? Is the sidewalk clean? How does the sign look? Do you staff it adequately? Is the staff trained properly? Is it easy to get to?
It is important that your business or service is found when people search on the internet and it is equally important that your information is available and accurate. Make the user engagement a good experience.
You should all be commended for the courage and determination it takes to open and run a small or medium-sized business. The world we live in today does not make that undertaking easy. The last thing you want to do is to compound it by burying your head in the digital sand.
Reach out to those that can help and see how you can start getting your virtual brick and mortar in order. Be where your current and next customer is – where they search, where they shop, where they communicate.comments powered by Disqus