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Multichannel shoe business: growth areas in online sales channels
29.11.2019 1209

Multichannel shoe business: growth areas in online sales channels

Today it is impossible to imagine a successful company that would not use digital tools in its work. Let's talk about modern online sales channels for a shoe store and SMM marketing. We will analyze the main areas of work and business growth areas in the development of multi-channel communications on the Internet using the example of shoe companies in Siberia, the native region of our fashion sales expert, Elena Vinogradova, the author of a business blog.

Elena Vinogradova Elena Vinogradova - An expert on sales and purchases in the fashion business. 16 years of experience from a buyer to a commercial director of a retail network (30 stores). UK Open University Management Diploma, London College of Fashion, FCG, etc.
She worked in all segments of the clothing and footwear market - from luxury and premium to economy with 300 + brands, at all key exhibitions in Russia and abroad. Key competencies: procurement, sales and service management in the fashion business, 9 years in the top management of the retail network of stores and wholesale.
Expert in specialized media in the fashion industry, speaker of business exhibitions and conferences. Conducts trainings and consultations for staff and store owners with the result in the form of revenue growth, conversion and the average bill.
The author of the business blog for clothing, footwear and accessories stores on Instagram @ fashion.business.blog and the YouTube channel - Fashion Business Blog.

Empowerment

Today it is very difficult to imagine a successful company without using digital tools. Firstly, because online platforms allow you to keep in touch with the client: you do not disappear from the field of view of the target audience, constantly remaining in sight. Secondly, you can monitor online consumer reaction to a product or service online.

Today, all key players in the Siberian market are developing multichannel communications with consumers using both traditional offline stores and online platforms: sites with online stores and social media accounts.

What are shoe brands doing on social networks VKontakte and Instagram now?

Communicate information to the consumer. “Look at our news, today the offer is 30% for everything, and tomorrow there will be winter shoes”, such advertising messages are published most often. Activity, as a rule, comes down to posting photos of 5-7 products once a week, account management strategies on these online platforms are very similar for different market players, not only in Siberia, but throughout the country.

Meanwhile, the possibilities of social networks are much wider:

  • Identification of their target audience and the circle of people who are useful for the company, their study, understanding how to involve such people in their work.
  • Analytics of the reaction to company proposals, adjustment of content, assortment policy and promotion strategies based on such an analysis.

What to do?

  • Communicate with your audience on a regular basis.
  • Conduct polls, find out preferences, ask for advice.
  • Involve in decision-making: the selection of new models in the collection, the launch of a new product / service, color packaging, name options for the brand of accessories. Even if you do not accept the ideas of your customers (anything can happen), you will involve them in the life of the company and show that you value their opinion. So you will form not just a pool of regular subscribers, but adherents of your brand / store.
  • To analyze all the responses of the audience, constantly measure the effectiveness of their actions and make plans for the development of sales channels in specific digital indicators.

It is also important to give feedback to your subscribers if you want to know their opinion.

An example of “how not to”:

A federal company with stores in more than 100 cities of Russia asks its subscribers which moccasins they like best in the photo - burgundy or silver. People write their answers, but the company does not react in any way. Will they be active next time? Proof of the low interest of the audience is already evident - meet 2-3 people with tens of thousands of subscribers.

An example of "how to":

A small shoe company with one store regularly learns the opinions of customers, including during the procurement process, recognizing preferences for models, colors and the introduction of new items in the assortment. Each customer’s comment is marked with a like and company response, with a name addressed to each survey participant. The result is a high activity and audience involvement in the profile.

Responsiveness is important

Multichannel communications mean that the company is always in touch. But in fact, in most cases, you will receive an answer during business hours from 9: 00 to 18: 00 and often with a delay of up to one hour. As an experiment, I made inquiries on Instagram accounts and on the websites of eight different shoe companies from Novosibirsk on Sunday morning, afternoon and between 19 and 20 hours of the evening. No one answered me. At the same time, many companies in the profile description stated delivery throughout Russia, which implies working with different time zones. On the next working day, 5 of eight companies answered me between 10 and 11 in the morning — that is, not from the beginning of the working day, but an answer was nevertheless received.

What to do?

If you are developing multi-channel sales, forget about the work schedule of a regular store and a five-day work week for an office employee. Online other hours of activity and a completely different geography. Life on the Internet does not stop for a minute and, therefore, the work of your marketing department should be structured in such a way as not to lose touch with the buyer. If you do not interrupt communication, you are promoting your brand and leading the customer to the sale.

It’s better to respond within 15 minutes, and in social networks even faster. It is also important to develop standards for communicating with customers online: response time, response form, SMM manager work schedule: time and days of the week. Successful online sales companies respond from 7 in the morning until midnight on weekdays and weekends. This rhythm of work is well suited for freelance employees - freelancers, bloggers.

Dealing with negative comments

Multichannel communications mean an increase in customer feedback. And this is not only praise and thanks for the purchases, but also controversial situations, conflicts and complaints. Above we talked about the speed of response - it will help not only in promoting the brand, but also in strengthening its reputation: it is imperative to respond promptly to any negative statement addressed to the store.

An example of “how not to”:

In the Instagram account of a large regional retail chain (more than 15 stores) for 8 weeks there has been a complaint from a buyer from Krasnoyarsk who was refused to return new shoes without explanation. The client’s question is correctly stated, the client has a name, a live profile, you can contact him, but there is still no answer from the company.

An example of "how to":

On the popular Flamp review resource, angry treatment from a customer who encountered poor service at a shoe store was not allowed into the pram. The company's response came immediately - within 10 minutes, the buyer was contacted, publicly apologized on behalf of the company, offered a personal discount as compensation for the inconvenience. As a result, the tension was removed, the buyer accepted an apology, thanking for the prompt attention to his complaint.

What to do?

Maintain any communication with the audience - thank you for your feedback and comments, in case of discontent - apologize, compensate for the inconvenience, find out what can be fixed so that the next time the buyer is satisfied.

Answer promptly - within 15 minutes maximum, response speed is especially important for a client with a problem. Leading companies not only quickly respond to negative comments, but also do not hide them, showing that they respect any opinion of their audience and are able to competently work with all reviews. Monitor the main sites where your audience can speak out about interaction with the company.

Work with prices

There are several aspects to this.

1. The multichannel model of sales implies a uniform pricing in all channels of communication with the client. Moving from one platform to another (from social networks to a site, from an online store to an offline store), the buyer should see the most uniform assortment and absolutely exactly the same prices. And in this sense, all players play by the rules. But periodically you can find similar inscriptions on the websites: "The price is valid only for the online store and may differ from the prices in retail stores." Such information about the difference in prices only creates unnecessary confusion for the client.

What to do?

Organize and maintain a single pricing across all sales channels. This is convenient for the buyer and does not create problems in understanding pricing within the same company.

2. The multi-channel sales model is based on the convenience of customer access to information. In social networks, you can often find the opposite: product photos without prices and similar repeating dialogs:

  • "Tell me the price?"
  • "Prompt in Direct!"

Activity in the comments can and should be created in other ways. Unwillingness to voice the price openly is a major annoyance for online shoppers across all surveys.

What to do?

Write the price in the text of the post under the photo, in extreme cases - when answering the first comment with a question about the price.

Technical issues

A well-designed and thought-out site today complements the offline store, attracting and retaining customers. A quick audit of several websites of shoe companies showed the following growth areas:

1. The lack of contextual links where it would be convenient for the client. For example, on the website of a shoe company I see the following information: "If this is your first time on our website, then go through the registration procedure." It is logical that the expression “registration procedure”, even in font, should be “highlighted”, that is, clickable and lead to the window for filling out the registration form. But in fact this is not. The site visitor has to choose a more difficult route and, unfortunately, the percentage of losses of potential customers at this stage is very large.

What to do?

If you call the buyer on the site for an action, give him the opportunity to perform this action immediately, without going to a separate menu and without looking for the right button. This will save you time and significantly increase the conversion of your sales channel.

2. Long answers in the chat assistant on the site. The meaning of this tool is precisely in operational feedback. And many users even scolded him for the annoying appearance. But some companies openly talk about a “long time” response.

For example, when you visit the site of a regional shoe company, an online assistant immediately honestly warns: “Ask a question or share a review. We respond within an hour or two (excluding weekends). ” I took advantage of the offer and asked a question. I was not answered within the specified time. The next day, I repeated the question in an online assistant chat. In response, I received a message generated automatically: "Now we will answer you in chat or by mail." As a result, the company did not use either communication channel; my question remained unanswered.

What to do?

Analyze the average time spent on the site and respond within this framework. If you still can’t organize prompt feedback, keep your own promise on the response time, otherwise it looks like ignoring the client’s request.

3. Empty catalog of goods. On the site of a local shoe company, in the "Accessories" section, a page with 34 positions opens, of which 30 are exactly the same - with the image of the store’s logo instead of the product’s photo.

What to do?

Quickly update the directory. Sells a picture online. If you do not have it, there will be no sales.

4. Layout errors. Here are just a few that I saw on the site of one of the prominent players in the local market:

  • lines that have moved in and adhered to each other in an advertising banner;
  • the window of the Internet assistant overlaps with other information, for example, icons in social networks. The call "Join us on social networks" will remain unanswered, because it is impossible to switch from a site to social networks from a computer. With mobile, everything turns out. In this regard, another problem:
  • the site version is not adapted for the screen of mobile devices and it is inconvenient to use it.

What to do?

Test site pages after updating content. It’s already inconvenient to write about adaptation to different mobile devices, it’s been a standard for a long time.

In the framework of this article, we examined only a few examples of the company's work in online communications with consumers. The general conclusion: by launching different channels of communication with the client, ensure their continuous and efficient operation so that the buyer can "seamlessly" switch from one channel to another without losing contact with the company and without falling out of the sales funnel.

This article was published in the 160 issue of the print version of the magazine.

Today it is impossible to imagine a successful company that would not use digital tools in its work. Let's talk about modern online sales channels for a shoe store and SMM marketing. ...
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