ux-choices

Brand Generator: Drives Sales Even When You Don’t Sell Online

By Neil Sniffen
5 minute read | Last Updated: May 1, 2016

Saying your brand doesn’t sell online is just an excuse for ignoring your best lead generation source: your brand’s website

We all know that the identity of a brand is established and reinforced online. Whether the brand’s site is focused primarily on ecommerce, to generate leads, or to communicate the brand story and mission, the site as a brand generator needs to sell your brand to consumers wherever they are and on whatever device they are using.

Maintaining a stance against selling online is a roadblock to improving retail sales. By sticking their heads in the sand and believing that a website is a poor replacement for actually touching the product in store, brands willfully ignore the fact that their website is the primary customer touch point.

Ask Blockbuster what happens when you refuse to adapt to the changing retail terrain.

insight-netflix-vs-blockbuster-revenues

 

Oh wait, you can’t.

This decline is avoidable with a simple change of philosophy and an acceptance of the existing reality.

First, some facts

  • 300 million tablets will be owned in the United States this year
    • 72% of tablet owners make a purchase from their tablet, weekly
  • 25% of 18-44 year olds can’t remember the last time their smartphone wasn’t with them
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information. 90% of those have taken action within 24 hours.
  • 50% of retail shoppers engage in showrooming, 14% of showroomers make an immediate purchase
  • Customers no longer follow a predictable sales funnel – they will check price on their phone, research on their laptop, and make a purchase later on their tablet (or in store)
  • Need more data? Check out our research report: The Single Digital Experience

Consumer touch point

Your brand site, as a brand generator, is one of the most important touch points for your consumer.

It is the one location where you have 100% control of the content, messaging, and delivery of information your consumers will use to make a purchase decision. Yes, the retail salesperson can help, but you must depend on their ability to sell your brand over another (if you think the bike salesperson doesn’t have a preference in brand, you’re only fooling yourself).

Your site also offers the ability to drive dealer sales by sending qualified leads to your retailers. To defend against the potential bias of retail salespersons and to equip your potential customers with great information, your site should be ready to answer consumer objections and questions about your brand 24/7.

The brand’s site should be ready to answer consumer objections and questions about your brand 24/7

Showrooming happens

Your consumer is using your site while in store to do research and comparison shop (showroom).

With over 50% of retail shoppers engaged in showrooming, ignoring or fighting against the trend is futile. Embrace showrooming and make your website the point of contact with your brand that helps your consumer decide to purchase your product.

By providing a great resource for research and using brand storytelling to generate excitement about your brand, your site can drive sales even without being and e-commerce site.

Your site can drive sales even without being and e-commerce site

Case study: MasterCraft

MasterCraft.com: The engine of their sales

Let’s look at a difficult product to sell online: the $100k+ boat.

It’s ridiculous to consider selling a $100k+ boat online.

Not many consumers can whip out their credit card and buy one, let alone go through all the nuances of customizing their MasterCraft and hoping that FedEx or UPS doesn’t screw up the shipping.

So what is a brand like MasterCraft to do?

Use their website as the primary consumer touchpoint and lead generation source. They refused to be pulled into the antiquated line of thinking of “We don’t sell online”. Rather they saw their site as a huge opportunity, and was it ever.

Within the first 12 months of launch of an updated online boat builder which sent qualified leads directly to the dealer network to close the sale, MasterCraft saw:

  • A 1000% increase in qualified leads.
  • 29% increase in revenue
  • Over 50k mobile visitors per month building custom boats online to share on social and send to dealers for a quote

Before MasterCraft embraced the idea that their site is the primary engine for their sales, sales were okay. But after listening to consumer complaints and suggestions, and realizing that the public face of their company was their website, MasterCraft embarked on an ambitious digital rebirth that resulted in some incredible returns.

These same returns can be realized by all brands.

Where the brand storytelling happens

Your brand’s website is the place to leverage brand storytelling to generate in-store sales. From your site, you can bring your consumer into the fold and allow them to see the awesome stuff they can do once your brand is a part of their life.

Generating that excitement is key to motivating sales and is doubly important for lead generation sites. Your brand may have only the one opportunity while your consumer is showrooming to impress upon them how your brand is superior/awesome/kick ass. If the site is not ready (24/7 BTW) to deliver that killer sales blow by fulfilling the transaction or sending the consumer to a dealer to purchase, what’s the point of having it in the first place?

If your lead generation site is not ready to deliver the consumer to a dealer to purchase, what’s the point of having it in the first place

Why The Good can jumpstart your leads

Besides our track record with lead generation sites like MasterCraft and e-commerce sites like Bell, we understand that to create increased leads and sales, brands must look past channel conflict to understand that enabling a transaction via their brand generator website does not have to mean only selling online with e-commerce.