Internet Marketing – M is for Merchandise (M.A.R.K.E.T.)

November 24, 2009 at 1:58 PM 12 comments

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting a series of articles on Internet Marketing. Each post will focus on a letter in an acronym I’ve put together (M.A.R.K.E.T.) to help people better understand some of the factors for success when considering an Internet marketing strategy for their business. For this post M is for Merchandise.

When you think of the word “Merchandise” what comes to mind? A store with mannequins? Isles and Isles of food and goods in the supermarket? Expensive packaging or promotional TV advertising?

When I think of Merchandising I think of all of the ways that a consumer needs to become emotionally attached to a product before they will purchase.  A very important part of this emotional attachment is the need for merchants to gain the consumer’s trust before they can see themselves owning the product… the car… the house… the boat… the life size Star Wars collectible C3PO and R2D2.

The Internet can make the exercise of building trust with a consumer challenging.  But, it can also make it easier when you understand two important things. 1) Technology doesn’t sell things… people do… the Internet (and technology) is there to help people do a better job. 2) In general, most consumers are not trying to avoid a relationship with a person or a company by using the Internet. The truth is actually the opposite… most people are trying to find a relationship with a person or company they can trust who sell a product or service they can trust.

In the end it is not about building the best website, having the best smoke and mirrors, or eliminating salespeople.  It’s about earning trust, respecting the consumer’s time and busy lifestyle, listening to the consumer’s needs and giving them the information they are looking for.

So what does merchandising have to do with all of this? It’s simple. Merchandising on the Internet is all about giving the consumer all of the information they are looking for in a way that helps to build their trust and become emotionally involved with the product.

Here are the top 5 things you can do to better “Merchandise” your products or services online:

  1. Take a lot of pictures that build trust
     
    It doesn’t matter what the product is (a car, a house, Christmas lights, landscaping services, etc) people need to see it. The more you show… the more the consumer will start to trust you over the next person who doesn’t do as good a job as you do. If it is a car… take dozens of pictures not just five or six… show every angle… walk around the vehicle so they can see you’re not hiding anything… take photos of every area both inside and out… the more features the more they can identify with the vehicle and picture themselves owning it… if it is a used car … place your business card next to any dent or scratch and make the imperfections your best friend. Full disclosure builds trust and makes a significant psychological impact on the consumer. Take a picture of the business card inserted into the tire tread depth. Take a picture of the odometer. Get the picture?
     
    As an example check out the inventory photos of Smith GM in Kamloops: http://www.smithgm.com You won’t need to look long before you see quite a few pictures on their vehicles. Of course they could do much better BUT you only have to be better than the competition to win the business and gain the consumer’s trust.
     
    For Real Estate here is an example of a website which has been specifically been setup to merchandise and market only one property onlyhttp://www.waterfrontdreamproperty.com/
     
    Although I’ve not seen anyone doing it yet… you may even want to take the pictures while including personalities (people) in the picture that help the consumer gain confidence. They might be famous personalities or people who are professionally attired and suited to the product. 
     
  2. Add third party credibility with editorial content
     
    I can’t think of a better way to gain consumer confidence than to include expert opinions from news articles, consumer guides and other editorial sources. For auto sales… adding links or attached documents with test drive reviews, editorials, or crash test results on a particular vehicle can make a significant impact.  For real estate… try adding positive news stories, reviews or articles about the neighborhood, location, local schools, local parks or other features of the property such as reviews on installed products that come with the property.  For consumer merchandise … it can be as simple as consumer’s buyers guide editorials and comparisons against other products.
     
  3. Add third part credibility with “social media” content

    What does the “wisdom of the crowd” say? Think about including links to comments on blogs about your product… YouTube.com videos… YeLP.com and other product review sites… and links to comments from within discussion groups… consumers want to hear what other consumers have to say.  Again, you gain the consumers trust by helping them find relevant information to help them with their buying decision.
     
  4. Include all of the written details
     
    What are all of the included OEM options? What are all of the included and optional aftermarket options? Not only is this a great place for “up-sell opportunity”, it’s also what will set you apart from your competition… make sure that you pay close attention to every detail of the product and that you describe it clearly and thoroughly.  This will also help people find your site and create more traffic to you your site with from search engines traffic. Most web site owners become lazy and only include the basic information. Those who invest the time to type out all of the details reap the benefits of added traffic and consumer confidence. If a consumer compares your product to one from a competitor and you provide more details then the consumer in many cases may become more confident in you as a merchant. Even if you cost a little more.
     
  5. Push the consumer’s hot buttons and take them to the next step
     
    The final aspect of merchandising and most forgotten one, is to “ask for the sale” or ask them to go to the next step with you.  In the case of automotive this can be items like: booking an appointment; completing a secure online credit application; requesting a trade-in quote; or making an offer.  The important thing is to take that website visitor to the next step … it won’t happen unless you ask them … if you need to increase your ratio of visitors-to-leads and visitors-to-sales then this is the way to do it!

My next post will be: A is for “Advertising” to your “targeted audience”

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Entry filed under: Entrepreneur / Business Ideas. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Search Engine Optimization for Dummies Growing the ASL Internet team in Kamloops

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cameroninglis  |  November 25, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    Here is an additional but important point. Merchandising is also about getting everything as perfect as possible to produce consistent and measurable results. Like getting that store display in the store window just right in order to grab the attention of passers by. In the same vain spelling and grammar are very important. When a visitor is reading the information you have provided… the last thing you want is to interrupt the flow and make their brains work harder. It’s like a salesperson introducing objections for the consumer at the same time as trying to make a sale.

    We’re all guilty of it. We let the “urgent” get in the way of the “important”. As I read my post from yesterday I can see that I even have made a few mistakes with my spelling and so I’ll be going back and making corrections today (you’ll see the mistakes crossed out in the revised version of the post).

    With the help of technology today there is no reason to make these types of mistakes. There are many options including proof reading your work, using Microsoft Word or Open Office for spelling and grammar checking, or even checking web sites such as http://www.dictionary.com

    A few years ago I conducted a telephone and email survey of 100 people who submitted “leads” to an automotive dealership in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (with the permission of the dealership). I was very surprised to find 2 people out of the 100 that had decided not to purchase from the dealership strictly because of spelling and grammar problems. They were both teachers and they did not know each other but both of them lost confidence and lost trust in the dealership because the communication on the website and within emails they had received were riddled with spelling errors and unclear communication with significant grammar mistakes.

    This isn’t to say that you need to use the “Queen’s English” when you are writing email or information for your website. In most cases you should consider using short simple sentences. If you need to start a sentence with “but” or “and” go ahead. But, just remember to read what you have written and make sure it flows well. Don’t make the readers stop in their tracks to try and figure out what you are saying.

    Reply
  • 2. cameroninglis  |  November 25, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    Try reading what you have done out loud. It is amazing the mistakes that you can catch doing this versus reading it to yourself quietly.

    Reply
  • 3. Cari Uang Di Internet  |  November 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    thanks!
    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.It will greatly help me in my activities.
    Thanks though, i’m glad some people share good stuff like this! It will greatly help me in my activities
    Great job ! 🙂
    Cari Uang Di Internet

    Reply
  • 4. Free $20 to Paypal  |  December 2, 2009 at 5:38 AM

    Thank you for your post,, this is a good post
    This will made more spirit for me to learn about internet marketing

    Reply
  • 5. Welcome :: OlyKit: Software Reseller  |  December 2, 2009 at 5:59 AM

    Welcome :: OlyKit: Software Reseller…

    To make the effective network marketing, the first ad foremost thing you will have to make sure is that, you must be able to bring in a lot of traffic to your website. This is simply possible in several ways by which you advertise and market your produ…

    Reply
    • 6. cameroninglis  |  December 2, 2009 at 8:37 AM

      Advertise is the second thing to be done which I will be writing about in my next post titled “A is for Advertise”… BUT I recommend not driving traffic to your website until you have all of the merchandising done first. You must close off all of the leaks and maximize the ability to convert visitors to leads and sales first. Thank you for the post.

      Reply
  • 7. Michael Seymour  |  December 5, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    Good information. I look forward to more articles. Thanks Peter.

    Reply
  • 8. Bruce-Internet Marketing  |  December 14, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    Thank you for the valuable information!

    Reply
  • 9. get traffic to my site  |  December 15, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    Great post. I think this will work nicely and will help to increase my wallet size ;o) This is definitely a good marketing tool for bringing in more traffic. Thanks.

    Reply
  • […] What about converting visitors to leads and leads to sales?  I haven’t talked much about this here but it is very important.  Who wants to take a boat out sailing if it can’t keep the water out? Do you have a lot of leaks in your marketing vessel?  If you do, fix it first!  Make sure your website will convert visitors to leads and sales before you ever pour money and effort into marketing it. Here are a couple of more articles on this topic: You’ve Got Leads Now What? and M is for Merchandise. […]

    Reply
  • 11. corey  |  June 16, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    Hi
    Nice post: thank you for the valuable information really your blog provided all of us useful information to work.
    Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips

    Reply
  • 12. Dave  |  September 30, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    The first point gave me some real insight, I’ll try to implement more picture taking into my site thanks!

    Reply

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