Written by Steve Perry
How To Promote Like a Pro
There’s been so many sports shop promotions lately that it must be run season again! The season when every charity or sporting event hones in on individuals who’ve hibernated over the winter and hope to lure them outdoors where the sun shines (intermittently) with vibrant new running shoes and blindingly bright t-shirts. For those of you who are tempted, the next step may be to visit a local store first to get a feel for what you really want or how it fits. From past jaunts to unfamiliar stores, I’ve found that whilst their website may offer simple check boxes for comparing merchandise, and a customer service help box should I require assistance, the same experience does not always translate to their bricks and mortar stores.
In some cases, the various fits, styles, and uses are all mixed together on wall displays, or you have to wait a while before a member of staff is free to ask for help. Then you find they don’t even have what you like in store. The assistant may point out that there is another section that’s dedicated to what you want, but not with the group of products they’ve been looking at with you… It all gets very confusing and, whilst the member of staff may have been as helpful as they could be, you’re likely to leave dissatisfied.
To combat complicated merchandising, there is a growing trend amongst modern retailers to use digital signage or interactive screens that allow customers to navigate their way around with a mobile phone or on screens around the store. These are just two simple options worth considering if confusing store layouts are necessary, or you have a large store with many departments.
But what can you learn from this sports store experience? If a business wants to be successful, online and offline, it really needs to ensure the customer journey is consistent throughout the purchase process. If you do that, it is unlikely that your customer will feel unhappy and purchase elsewhere.
This foray into the world of sports sales and email marketing presents an opportunity for me to discuss something that’s been of importance to me and my clients lately: promotions and website spikes!
At this point, I will assume you have successfully set up a website and have a list of leads you would like to communicate with, so let’s move on… Promotions are a great way of attracting interest, when done correctly, but it is important that you and your web developer are prepared for that. Firstly, ensure that your site is easy to navigate, most especially the ability to search the website content. Clear processes are also advisable so that the customer understands how to get from start to finish, in the most efficient way possible. If purchasing becomes a chore, they are likely to abandon the sale and go elsewhere.
Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change.
Pat was speaking more of sports, but the advice can still be applied to business. So, if you are expecting a lot of website traffic on the back of an emailer, advert, or promotional event, do make sure you have had this conversation with your website developer. A huge spike in traffic can be problematic to a busy server – contact your advisor to ensure contingency plans are in place and that there are minimal to no problems for your website as a result.
If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
Depending upon the expected impact on your server, fixes could include any of the following:
- Ensuring the page rendering is speedy, such as considering the effect of design elements and graphics on the website
- Power throttling to limit the server’s usage
- Caching options
- Improving network connections so the server can handle pages or transference of data to visitors faster
- Replacing a server that may not be running as effectively
- Upgrading hosting to other server options, including alternative shared hosting or dedicated hosting
- If you anticipate growing from a small or medium amount of traffic to a large amount exponentially, the only option left may be moving to a separate server so that you don’t then affect other websites or risk breaching your host agreement
What’s important to remember here is that growing your business is a good thing, but you do need to make sure you plan for getting to where you want to be. With a solid plan, and plenty of effort, you can offer the best experience for your business and your customers. As you grow, so will your Magento website as it is designed to ensure a smooth ride to the top of your league with a number of scalable benefits, including: great user experience, a payment module, a shipping module, multi-currency support, a dynamic interface, numerous extensions, as well as SEO, marketing, and other bespoke options.
If you would like to get in touch to discuss Magento or WordPress website design and development, you can contact me for an informal chat on 01782 954282 or by filling in the contact form.