Are You Making the “Locals Only” Ecommerce Mistake?

Where to buy (WTB) solutions highlight popular online and local retailers that sell your products, allowing your customers to choose the retailers they prefer. The whole point of these widgets is to streamline the path to purchase, so your customers can buy in the way that’s most convenient for them.

But a lot of brands don’t use them that way. In an effort to keep all online sales on their own websites, some manufacturers list local retailers but don’t show their customers where else they can buy online. They’re conceding that yes, there may be more convenient places for you to buy, or other ways you’d like to buy (like BOPIS), but they don’t want to lose online sales to their online retail partners.

In episode seven of our podcast, PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected, PriceSpider’s global sales executive Anthony Capozzoli discusses why this “locals only” approach hurts brands more than it helps.

Here’s why your WTB tool shouldn’t stop at displaying local retailers.

Customers are customers, wherever they buy

The reason some brands hesitate to list online retailers on their website is because you obviously get better margins when people buy directly from you.

But while this might give you a greater percentage of each sale, this is a pretty short-sighted approach to online sales. Because the reality is a sale is a sale. And as we’ll discuss in a moment, when you disrupt the path to purchase, you aren’t preventing customers from buying from other retailers, and you’re also risking losing the sale altogether.

You might feel like listing local sellers and giving people the option to buy from your site means you’ve got your bases covered. You’ve given people a way to buy in-store, or online. But for people who are used to shopping at specific online retailers, one online option—with a retailer they haven’t used before (that’s you)—isn’t very helpful.

“You have to give them the option to convert from their couch or wherever it is that they’re trying to convert from,” Anthony says. 

Some consumers will choose online retailers anyways

There are a lot of reasons why your customers prefer the convenience of specific online retailers.

It could be as simple as the fact that they already have an account, so they can buy with a click (and without walking across the room to grab their wallet). Or maybe they want to take advantage of perks like Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, or a rewards program. Or they want to see the reviews before they buy.

When you make it harder to take advantage of these incentives, you’ll probably drive some more sales through your own store, because some will see it as more convenient than trying to find your product page at another retailer’s site.

But others will simply swim upstream to purchase your products the way they purchase everything else.

And when you ask potential customers to do that, you jeopardize the sale.

You risk losing the sale

If someone is determined to buy from an online retailer they know and love, but you don’t list it on your website, they may assume your product isn’t available there. That can be enough for them to change their mind about buying.

They may also not be interested enough to leave your website and search for your product somewhere else. By not listing a more convenient place to buy and making it a click away, you’ve created just enough friction to keep them from buying.

But even if they’re willing to work to buy in the way they want, not listing popular online retailers creates other opportunities to lose sales to your competitors. When someone wants to buy your product somewhere else, they’re either going to go to Google or their retailer of choice.

Your competitors can advertise on Google for your branded keywords–and the ads display before any other search results. So the first thing your customers may see is an ad for a competing product that also meets their needs.

Similarly, some retailers (like Amazon) allow competitors to advertise their products in search results, even when someone searches for a specific brand. They may not give them a prominent spot, but the fact that your competitors are there beside your product is a risk you could’ve avoided by linking directly to the retailer.

And of course, if your customer searches for your product category instead of your specific brand or product, now you’re in a free-for-all with all your competitors—when you could’ve just sent your customer straight to your product page.

These risks are easy to avoid. But when you make the “locals only” mistake and don’t display online retailers in your WTB widget, you’re going to send some of your customers into the welcoming arms of your competitors.

Learn more on our podcast

Anthony Capozzoli lends his ecommerce expertise in our podcast, PriceSpider Ecommerce Connected. We’re currently covering common ecommerce mistakes and discussing ways to avoid them. “Locals only” was just one of the five Anthony brought up in our most recent episode.

Tune in on Apple Podcasts or subscribe on Android to get the full episodes and check out all five mistakes.

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