There are many conversations about running a local brick-and-mortar business, or conversations about running an online store, but the conversation about local business for an online site is much harder to come by.
This is a missed opportunity. One of the main challenges an e-commerce business has to overcome is building trust with its users. Consumers would often prefer to buy something from a smaller, more unique shop, but go back to the big brands they know because they can trust those sites to be safe. Having the connection of being a local shop can be one way to overcome that unease.
The trick then is how to bring local people to your online shop? Luckily, there are many strategies for improving business.
Online Paid Advertising
This may sound like an expensive option you should skip, but online paid advertising is not like buying a billboard. Getting started with a $50 budget is actually an encouraged tactic. All of your online campaigns won’t be successful. When you start a new campaign, it’s much wiser to begin on a lower budget and test, and then test more. Testing can be the difference between success and failure for online paid ads.
Testing with a low budget is a great way to get started and find options that work. Once you find one that works, you can increase your budget based on the results.
With a platform like Facebook, you can target your audience specifically to people who live in your area. One of the great things about Facebook ads is that you can cross target to people who live in a particular area, are within a specific age range, and have shown interest in a topic. So if you sell widgets in Kansas City, you can target consumers in Kansas City who’ve liked Facebook pages about widgets, have bought widgets in the past, or who have performed other activities that make them a valuable person to show your ads to.
You can then write ad copy that appeals directly to these potential customers. The ad copy can mention widgets and Kansas City while specifically speaking to the benefits of your widgets.
Improve Your Email Campaigns
This is key to growing any e-commerce business. You need to have a newsletter set up that captures interest from your customers. You can also collect email addresses at checkout, or when people are filling their carts, so you have the addresses of people who have abandoned carts.
Setting up personalized emails for the different consumer activity can be key to turning an abandoned cart into a sale.
Regularly emailing your customers about things they may find useful or interesting can keep your shop in their mind.
Be Involved in Local Platforms
This can be done in several ways.
First, consider your search engine optimization for local results. If your online store has a blog or other online content, you can target that content toward your local consumers. If you sell widgets made in Kansas City, are people are searching for widgets in Kansas City, some work on optimizing your site’s pages for this search can put your business at the top of the results.
Next, look for where your consumers hang out. Is there a local forum? Are there ads on that forum where you might be able to run yours? What hashtags are locals using on social media?
Lastly, consider local in-person events where your business would benefit from having a presence. If there’s a fair, you can set up a booth and put your URL on the banner and on business cards on the table, perhaps offer key chains or other free items with your URL printed on them. In-person connections can make your business real to them and quickly overcomes the issue of trust that many online businesses face.
Offer Gift Cards To Your Customers
Gift cards are a popular item. Offering the ability for your customers to buy gift cards for their friends and family can really build up business. You drew in one customer, the one buying the gift card, and they have successfully pulled in a second customer, the gift card recipient. This is an opportunity to turn both consumers into repeat customers.
You can use the Magento extension to easily create gift cards for your e-commerce business. This extension makes it create gift card codes. The Magento extension also allows customers to purchase cards at specific price points or to enter their own custom values.
Build Trust In Your Funnel
Look at what you can do to build trust on your website. Your site should be professional and let the consumer know you are legitimate.
One of the first things you can do is set up a live chat feature on your website. There are many apps for this, especially with Shopify stores. You do not always have to be available around the clock for the online chat. You can have a message at the top that says there is a delayed response.
There are apps to have this done through your Facebook page as a pop-up directly on your site.
You can also put a phone number up at the top. This could be a 1-800 number for long-distance consumers, but adding a local number as well can push that local angle a little further.
Use a trust seal during your checkout process.
Include customer testimonials on products and on the main page of your website if you can obtain customer testimonials from local public figures, even better.