Follow the customer

Want to increase sales? Follow the customer

Legend has it that when a reporter asked the notorious 1950s bandit Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” Granted, Sutton ended up behind bars, and is hardly a role model in anyone’s eyes. Nevertheless, the simplicity of his answer is commemorated through what the medical community calls “Sutton’s law.” It’s the idea that one should consider the most obvious answers first when trying to diagnose or solve a problem.

For brand manufacturers, that problem is the need to increase sales. And like Sutton, the solution is to go where the money is, which in this case, is with the customers. Follow them, and they’ll lead you to ROI every time.

Prioritize digital engagement

Make sure you're engaging customers at their preferred touch points.Make sure you’re engaging customers at their preferred touch points.

Ten or 15 years ago, a simple e-commerce website that loaded well on a desktop was enough of a digital footprint. But customers today expect brand engagement through social media, on mobile devices, via web chat or text, over the phone and in some cases, via video chat.

Mobile devices, for instance, overtook desktops as the preferred browsing method in 2016, meaning that failure to optimize a website for mobile can put a brand manufacture at risk of driving away traffic. Meanwhile, research from Bain and Company has shown that customers who engage with brands over social media are more loyal and will spend 40 percent more with those companies. And finally, 86 percent of customers say they will be willing to pay more money for a better experience, according to Forbes contributor Christine Crandell.

Long story short, give customers a digital experience they actually want by being available to them through the same channels as them.

Don’t try to one-up sellers

Speaking of giving customers the experience they want, not all customers will want to make purchases on a brand manufacturer’s product pages. Instead, many customers will have preferred sellers, and some will even have premium memberships with these sellers that provide incentives. For instance, Amazon offers one to two-day shipping for to its Prime members. Meanwhile. security-conscious consumers may prefer to shop through as few websites as possible to reduce the amount of personal and/or payment information they share with organizations.

“Show shoppers where your products are available on the web.”

Whatever their reasons, it’s fair to assume that many customers will opt to buy brand-name goods through retail channels of their choosing rather than through the actual manufacturer. Technically, this limits the total percentage of profit per unit sold since these purchases are indirect. However, more is more when it comes to sales numbers. You may not be able to convince all of your customers to buy from your website, but you can certainly increase the chances that your products, and not your competitors’, will end up in their favored shopping cart. How, you ask? Show shoppers where your products are available on the web, and link to those destinations on your own website.

To make this possible, a tool like Where to Buy from PriceSpider shows exactly where your products are available and the manner in which they can be purchased (online order for store pickup, ship to home, etc.).

In other words, don’t try to one-up your seller network. Embrace it as an extension of your brand and use it to follow your customers, because that’s where the money is.

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