Comparison shopping is the 2nd reason that the majority of people on your site will abandon their buying process, following only high or shocking shipping prices. Your guests see what you have, what prices you offer, how soon your product or service will be delivered, and then they leave to check out the same things on other peoples sites. It might seem like there is nothing you can do-people are going to compare options no matter what. You can employ a few of the tips from the following scenario to retain more of your comparison shoppers and increase your ROI.
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new bike rack for your car. You want something strong and sturdy that won’t mess up your car, but that also will also allow you access to your trunk. And you’d like it to hold at least 3 bicycles, but 4 would make an impression on you.
You start researching and asking people in parking lots what they like and dislike about their bike racks. You post on your Facebook wall and in your Twitter account that you’re in the market for a bike rack, any of your trusted friends have a suggestion? Someone suggests you look at the Thule Domestique Bike Mount. You like the rooftop style but were hoping for a full bike mount, not a fork mount, so that you wouldn’t have to put the front tires in your car and waste valuable interior space. As a last ditch effort you Tweet: “Looking @Thule Domestique Bike Mount–anyone know of a better roof mount bike rack?”
Then, magically, the owner of Yakima, a competitor of Thule fires back a suggestion to check out the Yakima FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount. He then sends you a follow up e-mail with a coupon for 10% off any Yakima bike rack ordered direct from the Yakima site. He also addresses the pros and cons of all the rooftop racks Yakima offers in the e-mail.
How do you feel? Special right? Like Yakima values you as a person and a customer. The likelihood you will go with a Yakima rack is very high at this point-you feel like you have a personal relationship with the Yakima brand and you also have an incentive in the form as a discount to persuade you to buy from Yakima. This kind of experience is not uncommon. You probably approach many planned purchases much the same way-from the purchase of your next car to the preschool you will send your child to: by asking friends, looking up information on your favorite search engine, reaching out to your social media networks and reading reviews.
The moral of the story? The visitors to your site are shopping the exact same way. They have unlimited information at their fingertips. Your potential customers will get some information from you, but will also do their homework and see what your competitors have to offer and what their friends are saying about your product. You need to be the resource that arms your site guest with the most information possible, and that builds the strongest relationship with your customers. How do you do those things? Listen, reach-out and deliver.
In the ‘olden days’ when people had to go to a brick and mortar store to make a purchase you could create a relationship with your guests using well trained sales people and superior customer service. Nowadays, people ordering online are never given any personal attention when they shop. Since that attention is so rare, it is impossible to overstate the value of giving it to your guests. You need to set up a marketing program that asks your visitor, “Is there anything I can help you with?” without actually having the opportunity to meet them face to face.
You can monitor relevant keywords on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook-or monitor related topics on sites like Yahoo Answers or Quora to find people who might be looking for what you sell.
There are plenty of alert tools out there that can help you. You can explore the following to keep an eye out for terms people use online that are related to your company.
How about your e-mail campaign? You might send one mass e-mail to all your guests, you might segment them by people who are potential buyers and those have made a purchase in the past, or even use more acute criteria to segment your newsletter traffic. It is great if you are segmenting your newsletter campaigns, but what about your personal e-mail campaign? When is the last time you sent a personalized e-mail to one customer or potential customer? Do you have someone on your team working full time to reach out to your prospects and let them know you are personally there for them and that their relationship with your company is worth spending the time to write a personal e-mail for? If you have any of the addresses of your guests or potential guests, try to send one hand written letter a day-it won’t go unnoticed.
There are a few good ways to keep comparison shoppers on your site. One of the best ways is to offer product reviews. If your products get good reviews that people can read about, they are less likely to need to compare your product to others on a different site. You can also compare your products with that of your competitors right on your site. In this way you can show your own product in it’s best light, impress guests because you do not fear comparison, and keep them from leaving your site to browse somewhere else.
The smartest marketers will be the ones to educate their guests early on, and create a mindset that positions their product in the best light. You can do this by focusing on customers’ problems in the content you publish and by positioning what you sell as a solution to those problems.
You should see your site as having to roles:
Primary Role: Be the go to source for anyone looking for a product or service like yours
Secondary Role: Sell your Product
This approach will position your product or service as the leader in your industry even if it might seem counter intuitive to make the sale of your product secondary. It also has the added benefit of increasing traffic to your site and weeding out customers that might be unhappy with your product in the first place, saving you money on your reconnaissance efforts.
In order to retain customers that are comparison shopping, make sure you first have a strategy to find out their needs. Then present them the solutions to their needs pointing out when what you offer is the best solution. You can let your guests know your solution is best with product reviews, forums/conversation and information. If you need help making sure your site and marketing campaign are effectively speaking to comparison shoppers, get in touch with us.