Your Business Can Do Better at Lead Generation Than Amazon
The Brick and Mortar Advantage for Lead Generation
Last week we talked about the recent interest in the office about “The Amazon Effect”. We are encouraged by the article because it shows promise for local brick and mortar stores like yours for competing against online giants, notably Amazon. In the short term, online retailers were reportedly dominating the market. Businesses were closing at an alarming rate. Customers were purchasing items from their desk and having them delivered to their door cutting out the local retailer.
That was the short term.
Long term the Amazon Effect is only bad news for retailers who do not want to change the way they’ve always done business. In terms of lead generation, there is still room for traditional business but clearly customers are online so a portion of marketing needs to be focused on online search. Read on and determine how much change you’re willing to make to generate business leads.
Traditional Marketing Lead Generation
The ability for businesses to build relationships is their strongest advantage when it comes to slaying the online retail beasts. Our brains naturally go to relationships with our customers, but this ignores the benefits of business relationships. Millennials are driving the trend towards shopping small and local. They prefer local businesses that support one another and reward them with their dollars.
Think for a minute who your business neighbors are. How about the restaurant down the street? Have you talked to them about helping them get stocked with the local brews and wines you stock? If the customer enjoys the pinot grigio with dinner, they are likely to come pick up a bottle while they’re in the area and, conversely, if a customer selects a bottle of wine you know is served at that restaurant, you can offer them a recommendation for their next meal out. What about the local bookstore? Co-sponsor a book club where you provide a discount to club members, or tie the book of the month into a subscription service in your store. There are so many opportunities for partnerships that encourage other businesses, increase your customer base, and allow millennials to be a part of growing the local economy. (Bye bye online shopping! I’ll be on Main Street!)
Modern Marketing Lead Generation
When it comes to modern marketing, there is no debate—you must be online. This is why online retailers have won the eCommerce race out of the gate. The internet has made customers more savvy. Sweeping endorsements of products won’t do it anymore. When a customer knows what they want, they do their research. Google has identified a new step in shopping which they call the Zero Moment of Truth. A TV or radio ad for soup, a first moment of truth, isn’t enough to prompt a customer to buy that soup, they are now “pre-shopping”, the Zero Moment of Truth, to find out what other shoppers think of the taste, consistency, nutritional information, and more.
By the time a customer comes to your store, it is almost certain that they have done online research about the product they are coming to buy. This is why you need to be online. The lead generation part of the customer funnel includes awareness and consideration. Chances are other sites have done the awareness work for you. Brands are making sure their name comes up at the top of search engine results when someone researches their product. Once customers move into consideration, that is which product are they going to purchase and where, you need to be at the top of local search results. Your product offering, promotions, and location need to be easily available when the customer is ready to buy so they know what they are getting and where to find it.
Brick and mortar stores have the advantage here. Remember, customers want to build relationships. Point and click isn’t guaranteed to get them the product they need, only the product they think they need based on the input of others. By coming in to talk to you, the customer can be sure their specific needs are met with the product they buy. Even better, your ability to cross sell products is improved. Online retailers may have recommendations and make special offers, but only by knowing the customer can targeted recommendations be made.
By dovetailing traditional marketing tactics to encourage other businesses with making modern, digital marketing that ensures you are seen when the customer is in consideration after online research, you can build strong relationships in your community—the kind that are rewarded with customer dollars.
Customers have realized the importance of these relationships in the customer experience. These relationships build loyalty and keep you top of mind for initial and future purchases. As this Retail Touchpoints blog reminds us, “The cost of acquiring a new customer can range from five to seven times the expense of keeping an existing one”. When you have an existing relationship with a customer that goes beyond having their name, billing information, and shipping address on file, you have the upper hand at growing that relationship for business success. If you’re willing to make the needed changes, your brick and mortar store will have the upper hand in slaying the online retail beast.