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    Why Building a Cohesive Online Buying Experience Matters

    By Monique Ahmad

    In today's digital world it has become easier for businesses to make buying more accessible and simpler for their customers. No matter where your customers are or what time it is, you can give them access to your offerings. Virtual shopping has evolved rapidly in the last year, allowing a cohesive and user-friendly experience across various platforms. Your audience is looking for an experience that expands beyond just your site. A multi-faceted shopping experience across various channels is a must! Utilize not just a good site, but also leverage the best of social media, third-party sites and other channels. Most channels now offer easy ways to link your e-store to make buying faster. Your audience’s attention is constantly being pulled, if they aren’t able to smoothly buy your products or services, they may move on to someone who can give them that experience.

    A cohesive shopping experience begins with a united company image and structure. Taking the time to internally define what your company goals and objectives is the first step. With a strong understanding of what you want as a company, you will have a much easier time in creating a digital and in-store experience that helps to meet your goals. You also want to take the time to do your market analysis, understand the market and your customers. Research not only what your customers' needs are, but particularly how they buy and communicate. This will help you in determining what channels will be best for your company to setup.

    A Multichannel Setup
    Once you have defined your image and values, you need to define which channels will be more crucial for your business to use. There are tons of channels out there, but not all of these are helpful to all businesses. As mentioned above, to decide if a channel is right for your audience, a good knowledge of how they buy and communicate is important. Some channels to consider are:

    In Store Shop – Traditionally this would be where you begin your business, by setting up a physical store. This isn’t the case now, for many years businesses have started to sell online before opening a physical store. If you’re customer buys online more than in person, than this option may not be for you.

    Online Shop – An online is a great way to direct start selling to your customers. This is more than just a website. An online store allows your customers to directly buy from your website. There are tons of software that help to do this including Magento and Shopify.

    Social Media Platforms – Most of your audience is likely to be on social media at this point, whether they are old or young, students or professionals. There are a lot of social media platforms and you can’t manage them all. Your customers will determine which social media platforms are for you. Most social media platforms now offer integration between their platform and your online store. Leverage these capabilities to allow your customer to buy directly from social media to prevent loss of interest.

    Third Party Vendors - Whether you sell products or services, there are third party sites that may be a fit for you. By creating shops on these third-party sites, you broaden your customer range. Popular sites like Amazon and Ebay are great for product driven businesses (shopify.com).

    Comparison Stores – Comparison sites can be great for both B2B and B2C businesses. They help your customers see you value in comparison with your competitors. Comparison sites can be location specific, national or international. (shopify.com)


    Cohesiveness in your Brand
    A key component to building a successful multichannel business is having cohesiveness in your brand. Regardless of if you choose to use 2 channels or 10 channels, your brand story should be consistent to build trust. If we think of businesses that are doing well like Nike or Microsoft, their branding and story is the same regardless of if we are seeing them on T.V., social media or at a third-party site. This is what builds are relationship with them as a brand, we know who they are which strengthens our trust in them. When building your story take your customer into consideration and create a brand story that will speak to them while getting your values across. Your ultimate goal is to build trust and gain loyal customers.
    The Smart Marketing Group – a Marketing Agency of Smart IS International – offers a range of services that can help your business setup and manage your online presence. From building and integrating your eCommerce platforms to building your brand, SMG has a skilled team to do it all. As business owners it can be hard to find the time to create a digital marketing experience that you want your customers to have. Let SMG help.
    You want to create an online shopping experience that will make buying easy and fast. A click here and an add payment here and you’re done! That is why integrating a multichannel shopping experience is so beneficial. Particularly for B2C business, having all your channels linked makes a huge difference in your relationship with your audience.

    Source:
    https://www.shopify.com/retail/making-the-case-for-multichannel-sales-how-a-cohesive-buying-experience-can-help-your-retail-business-prosper

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