Internet Marketing – A Retail Strategy You Can’t Ignore

Just how important is it that you understand the power of Internet marketing and the retail strategy that it requires?Well, imagine if a major retailer saw the historic growth of discount stores over the last 50 years and ignored it.Oh, wait! That describes just about all of the “old-model” retail chains. (Think of once-vaunted Sears, bought by Kmart.)Today, Internet marketing is changing the face of retail even more than discounting did in the 20th Century: low overhead, 24/7 service, worldwide reach.To keep up with the changes, you need a strategy to take advantage of all the available online retail opportunities.Let’s look at a few of those opportunities and what you can do to put them to work for you. Shoppers Have ChangedThe internet has created a world of retail customers who want whatever they want, whenever they want it. Think of a brick-and-mortar retail store-whether a “mom and pop” or national chain. What if customers said, “I want to be able to shop at 3 a.m.”?What is the strategy for staffing up for that, for paying to keep stores open, for security?Major discounters like Walmart do it at some locations. But can you?With an Internet retail presence, you can.Shoppers have changed. The right retail strategy for the Internet will ensure you change with them.The Price is RightHow do you sell at a low price?One way is by volume. Selling a lot means you buy a lot, and that means you drive down your suppliers’ prices.Or you sell cheaply from a no-frills store, saving money that allows you to cut prices.Or, you have no brick-and-mortar location, few employees, no warehousing-you sell online. This is the heart of an Internet retail strategy.Make Sure They Find YouWith Internet retailing, you can’t hang a sign on your building, or put up a billboard on the freeway, or place an ad in the local paper. So what is the strategy for reaching retail customers online?Again, the Internet gives the retailer an advantage.You can advertise your online retail site on other sites, you can fill your site with good content designed to attract potential customers, and you can post content on other sites to drive buyers your way.Data about the people who are searching the Internet for items like yours lets you craft a retail strategy to market directly to your most likely customers.It’s like having a billboard on a road where only drivers who want what you sell pass by.One Thing Doesn’t ChangeWhether online are off, one aspect of your retail strategy doesn’t change.You must offer excellent customer service. The rule of thumb is a happy retail customer tells 1 friend; an unhappy retail customer tells 10 friends. How to keep customers happy and telling their friends good things about you?Your Internet retail strategy must include a process for filling customers’ orders correctly and on time. And you must have a system for handling customer complaints professionally and courteously.Internet marketing has drastically changed the way smart sellers develop their retail strategy. It requires new methods-and it offers powerful new tools. Don’t ignore this crucial shift in the marketplace.