A lot has been said and written to answer the question above but do you manage to get customers via your website to your centre? A global survey among consumers showed that 88% of the consumers orientates online and purchases offline so it’s time to jump on this train!
First and foremost: an up to date website is vital to attract more customers. With Garden Connect we’re providing websites to over 200 independent garden retailers and the key element why retailers choose our services is that we provide content. Gardening tips, news items, photos, how-to’s, etc. It’s a tough daily job to keep your website alive & kicking but it’s essential to be successful. Your website is your online hub and connects your social media, webshop, garden centre and newsletters into one brand and platform. Also, most people looking up your business via Google end up on your website. Would you dare to visit a garden centre who is still showing Christmas trees in March?
Once setup you have to focus on your targets: what do you want customers to do? Probably visiting your garden centre so give them reasons to go to your centre and not to another one: promotions, your restaurant, nice photos of the plant area: it should all be in place and (more importantly!) up to date.
The second step would be to get to know your customers. At Garden Connect we’ve been applying dozens of tricks to gain e-mail addresses from customers: give away an e-book, a coupon, free plant, cup of coffee or whatever. A box saying “Signup for our newsletter” won’t work anymore. What’s in it for the customer? Be sure to have a good reason to sign-up for your newsletter! It’s a very useful tool to stay in touch with customers and to drive traffic to your centre via promotions, news, events and coupons.
Last but not least: the webshop. If you look at all the handling you need to do, time you spend to upload products to your webshop and online marketing expenses one thing is obvious: a webshop can only be successful if you’re able to scale your business. At Garden Connect some gardening webshops are very successful and they have a team of 10 or more people working it – so you can be successful and profitable online. However, most customers decide to use their webshop as an online showroom and to advertise products. And that is the direction independent retailers should take to attract the online orientating consumers to their centre!
A website is easy to setup but hard to maintain. Whenever you lookup websites of garden centres you can identify a lot of old and outdated information, promotions and events still being displayed. That hurts a business! Be sure to have an up to date website, give customers reasons to visit your centre, promote your newsletter and give visitors an online showroom. That would definitely drive more traffic to your centre!
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