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Now’s The Time To Build The Website You Wish You’d Had

Here’s how to put the digital resources in place to rise from the ashes of the pandemic.

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IN PSYCHOLOGY, WHEN a person avoids responsibility for his or her life by investing heavily in another person’s problems, it’s called codependence. Today, I’m sounding the early warning system: Don’t get codependent on coronavirus as an escape hatch from dealing with the challenges of your business. Natural disasters and recessions provide an excellent excuse for not marketing. We’re human, so we get to freak out and mourn when things go wrong. That’s OK … for a bit. But then, it’s time to turn our focus to getting better, which happens to be an excellent form of therapy.

As I write this article, I have no idea what will happen in the next five weeks. But we don’t have to predict the future. We just have to look to the past. Specifically: What could I have done differently in the past that would have better prepared me for the reality of today? Create the plan now you wish you’d made in the past, and you will start improving even before consumers return to stores.

Was your website ready to support you when foot-traffic died? The consumer commitment to online shopping just picked up a strong tailwind, and you need to keep up. Your website should include a full catalog of your product with prices, an easy shopping cart and checkout functionality. But don’t stop there! Your website should also include:

  • Online chat, including the ability to take messages during off hours. Even better, implement a chat system that also helps your visitors navigate to personalized answers. The option to answer yes/no questions at the click of a mouse or touch of a finger and quickly land on the “right” page or product is very appealing to consumers. Make sure they have the option to speak with a live person at any point, and you’ve covered all the bases.
  • Dynamic content. It’s easier (and more affordable) than ever to tailor the content your website visitors see to the things most likely to suit their interests.
  • Rich search snippets. Implement the organic SEO disciplines on your website that ensure your links are the ones that get clicked.
  • Video conferencing. Yes, it’s gone mainstream. Continue to offer “virtual presentations” to your customers. It’s convenient and can expand your geographic footprint.
  • Video content. Once you get beyond being camera-shy, you realize that it’s fun to share quick video moments with your customers — and they really appreciate it. Incorporate more “you” in your social media and less product, and you’ll actually end up selling more product.
  • Testimonials and reviews. These trust-building features help you convert prospects into customers. Aggregate your Yelp, Facebook, Google, and paper/email reviews into one powerful collection. Display these endorsements on your website and social channels, and use them to inspire more testimonials.

A codependent’s issues don’t go away when their dysfunctional mate becomes well. This downturn will end, and you don’t want to find yourself still playing the “blame game” when it does! Take control now of your marketing plans, and get ready for a brighter future. Because it’s right around the corner.

Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at hill-management.com.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

A Liquidation Sale during a Pandemic? Wilkerson Showed Them the Way

For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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