It’s both a benefit and a drawback for you and your customer. There are no showrooms in ecommerce.
For you, this means that your overhead costs are lower, you don’t have to pay sales clerks and inventory can be housed in a warehouse rather than on showroom floors. Lower overhead means you can offer customers the most competitive price–a definite plus. Not having a physical showroom also means that you need to make doubly sure that your ecommerce site provides and easy-to-use and informative shopping experience.
For customers, your not having a showroom means that your online prices are likely to be lower due to lower overhead but there is no way to get up close and personal with your products and physically touch them (as many consumers like to do before they purchase). This could result in lower sales or customer dissatisfaction if your ecommerce site doesn’t offer enough information (or accurate information) for a customer to make an informed purchase decision.
Perfecting Your Virtual Showroom
So, how can you make sure that your virtual showroom is an asset to your sales process and giving the customer what he or she needs? Consider including the following:
- The best price you can realistically offer. (While this isn’t directly related to your site, it is a huge driver for online sales.)
- The best guarantee your organization can offer on online purchases. This might include a price match guarantee, free return shipping, no hassle return processing, or an extended warranty on the product.
- High quality product images from a variety of angles, calling out and showing specific details about each product that can’t be seen from a traditional product shot.
- A product description (this is the marketing stuff) that speaks to the customer’s need for the product.
- Product specifications that cover the products dimensions, weight, composition, color, shipping limitations, and any other pertinent details. It is better to offer more information than not enough.
- Product videos that demonstrate the product being used or review specific details about the product that the customer might want to see “in action.”
- Robust search capability including the opportunity to filter results by color, size, price, etc.
- Dynamic and interactive tools to help a customer choose the best product, such as side-by-side comparison capabililty.
- Customer review or testimonial videos. There’s nothing more powerful than a third party endorsement directly from the mouth of the user.
- Ratings and reviews. Unsolicited ratings and reviews provide powerful credibility to your product or service.
- Contact information for your company, should they have a question or concern. Make sure your toll-free number or live chat information are easy to find from every page of your site so that a customer never has to hunt for the information.
Having no showroom to support your ecommerce business can be both an asset and a liability. With careful consideration, you can easily make sure that your virtual showroom–your ecommerce site–provides the information your customers need and the low prices they want all in one place.
To learn more about how to leverage the power of your ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.