SmartEtailing Blog

How does my website help me grow sales?

By Ryan Atkinson

SE_BlogPost_GrowSales19_670x470The right website is an investment in your business. With SmartEtailing, the fundamental value proposition is that we automatically merchandise online the products you’ve invested in for your sales floor. Simply by connecting your point of sale, your website starts working to attract and convert local cyclists into customers.

And we aren’t just talking about online sales. We can grow your overall sales, in-store and online. The most common form of ROI our clients experience is a customer walking into your store and saying, “I saw on your website that you have the bike I want.” For decades, this has been the single most valuable contribution we make to our clients.

SmartEtailing client Shawn Fitzpatrick of Oxygen Bicycle Co experienced immediate results. “The new website is working already after just going live yesterday. A customer went on the website, looked at what we had in stock, came in an hour later and bought a $700 bike with $500 in accessories.”

Online selling is happening too. We’ve seen double digit growth in online sales for retailers across our network each of the last four years, significantly outpacing overall brick-and-mortar sales. This is a category of growth that progressive bike shops are capitalizing on in their local markets.

Last year, 33% of online sales across our network were for in-store pickup, validating that local bike shops can grow with local cyclists by offering the convenience of an online store.

Here’s why a SmartEtailing website can help your bike shop grow local sales.

More customers can find you

The shopping journey today starts with online search. A cyclist wants to buy something and they start the process of discovering the right product by using the internet.

Some consumers will go directly to the local bike shop when they want to buy something cycling related. This is the ideal scenario for a bike shop with a simple website or a Facebook page.

In a world where consumers physically go to a local retailer when they want to make a purchase, this less sophisticated solution works. These bike shops can be discovered by a shopper who types “bike shop near me” in the search bar. Unfortunately, only a small number of consumers shop this way.

Most shoppers think about the product they want first, not where they are going to get it. They type “electric bike” or “bicycle floor pump” into the search bar. This is where a more advanced website is necessary to attract local customers.

Most shoppers think about the product they want first, not where they are going to get it.

A SmartEtailing website accomplishes this by automatically merchandise your products online.

  • Integrates with your point of sale
  • Automatically shows products you have in stock
  • Displays accurate details, pricing, availability, and images
  • Connects to supplier warehouses

The resulting online product pages are configured so that Google can easily find that your local bike shop has the product that the consumer is looking for near them.

With SmartEtailing, you empower your business and the products you sell to be easily discovered by consumers in your local market. More consumers seeing your brand and interacting with your website increases your ability to convert more sales.

Easier to buy from you

It’s no surprise to hear that consumers want convenience. This was true when Sears Roebuck started their catalog business in 1896, making a huge selection of product accessible to America’s growing population with convenient mail order and home delivery. It’s of course accelerated with the advent of the internet, online shopping, and Amazon.

Today, shoppers want to pull their phone out of their pocket and be a few taps away from buying precisely what they want and have it in their hands whenever they want.

Ten years ago, bike shops worried that online shopping was going to make bike shops irrelevant. But the online retail world is changing and the advantage is shifting back to physical retailers who have products in-stock or available for free in-store pickup.

Click-and-collect shopping, buying online for in-store pickup, is one of the fastest growing categories of online sales.

Click-and-collect shopping, buying online for in-store pickup, is one of the fastest growing categories of online sales. The nation’s largest physical retailers are using this strategy as a competitive advantage over Amazon. By finding inventory locally, consumers win in several ways.

  • Immediate gratification with in-stock local product
  • Efficient shopping trips
  • Cost savings by avoiding shipping
  • Eliminate risk of package theft
  • Spending money locally

Today, a bike shop like yours can use your SmartEtailing website to put a virtual cash register online. Shoppers can buy from you however they want. If they need to rush in to grab something on their way home from work, or send a spouse in to pick something up, they can purchase from your website and have the item waiting for an efficient visit to the bike shop.

If your local customers don’t have time to visit your shop, no problem, you can enable local shipping and deliver qualifying products straight to their home or office.

Local cyclists want to buy from you. They know the value of supporting local businesses. They see what you do in the community to get more people on bikes and create opportunities to ride. But these same cyclists don’t want to sacrifice convenience or selection to shop with you. You can make it easier to shop with your business with a SmartEtailing website.

Expanded selection

More and more you are under pressure to reduce your local inventory or even reduce your physical footprint. At the same time, consumers have come to appreciate the vast selection available online.

Your website doesn’t have the same limitations as your physical store. SmartEtailing has the ability to display an expanded selection of product from your suppliers. Your website makes it easy for consumers to toggle between in stock and in warehouse down to the individual SKU level. So based on the shopper’s preference, they can interact with your business the way they want.

You see this same feature when you shop with retailers like Best Buy or Target. These retailers want shoppers to see everything available for purchase. Consumers have become accustomed to expanded selections and appreciate knowing that the local retailer they trust can provide them with the product they want, regardless of whether it is in stock now or in an offsite warehouse.

SmartEtailing has powerful integrations with dozens of the largest suppliers in the bike industry, with inventory availability and pricing information automatically updated from warehouses across the country every day. Your website has numerous setting so you can customize what product and availability information is displayed. Our system is purpose built to meet your bike shop’s needs precisely.

More effective marketing

This is the piece that is often overlooked by bike shops. In addition to being an automated marketing tool for consumers browsing online, your SmartEtailing website can easily be merchandised to display new products, seasonal categories, and promotions in order to encourage shoppers to interact with the product that is most important to your business.

What happens now when you put the latest full-suspension mountain bike on your sales floor? Do you send an email to your customers letting them know? What’s the call to action? Are you asking your customers to visit your store to learn more? Are you sending your customers to a bike brand’s website where that shopper may choose to buy direct or from a local competitor?

What should you do? You should build emails that link your customer to your bike shop’s website where you display your newest inventory the same day it is released by the manufacturer. Your customers can see images, study product details, and read consumer reviews right on your website - shopping with you is at their fingertips wherever they are.

What about online advertising? Do you use Google search, display, or shopping ads for your business? If so, where do your ads link? Is it just to your homepage?

In today’s world, that isn’t good enough. Consumers expect to get the information they want in the fewest clicks possible. With a SmartEtailing website you can easily configure unique landing pages using our drag-and-drop tools and catalog automations to build marketing landing pages in minutes.

And if you don’t have time, we can do it for you because we have a professional marketing team on staff with expert bike shop marketers, graphic designers, online search specialists, strategists, and copywriters.

This same team of marketers adds fresh new marketing content to an easily accessible content library which you can install on your website for free. That is one of the many ways that our exclusive focus on bike retail and personalized small business mentality make us the best choice for your bike shop website.

We can enhance your website marketing whether you do it yourself or outsource the work to us.

How will you see the results?

As I said before, the most common form of ROI our bike shop clients experience is a customer walking into your store and saying, “I saw on your website that you have the bike I want.”

More and more, bike shops are seeing results in direct online sales. In 2018 the average SmartEtailing website with a shopping cart turned on sold over $40,000 online.

In 2018 the average SmartEtailing website with a shopping cart turned on sold over $40,000 online.

Where are these sales coming from? One third of the orders were for in-store pickup which obviously means these are local cyclists wanting to buy online from their local bike shop. The remaining orders are being shipped, either by the bike shop or using our Supplier Fulfillment drop ship partnerships with brands like QBP, Trek and LTP Sports.

You can adjust the settings of your online shopping cart to be configured in a way that best suits your business. For example, you can ship only to in-state customers or you can decide to not ship at all and only allow for in-store pickup.

Key takeaway

Your local bike shop will benefit from making it easier for local cyclists to find your business and buy from you. SmartEtailing has spent 20 years building the software and partnerships to make this process easy for you.

Consumers are going to continue evolving how they shop and will have increasingly higher expectations for information, accessibility, and ease of purchasing.

National retailers are leveraging the power of having physical inventory in-stock locally and they are using integrated websites to get that inventory into the hands of local buyers.

SmartEtailing can empower your local business with the same tools available to national retailers and we can help you grow your sales.

Schedule a free consultation today and let us show you how easy it can be to power your business with an online store from SmartEtailing.

Topics: Client Updates Bicycle Retail Insights

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