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Jen Phillips April

Jen Phillips April

Are You Connecting with Your Shoppers?

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to managing your digital presence. The good news is, you have multiple ways to connect with your customers including social media, reviews, emails, and even online chat functions. The bad news is that you have multiple ways to connect with your customers which means more platforms to pay attention to and learn how to use. 

Yes, it can feel daunting. However, there are ways to take the pressure off.

For instance, you can enlist help from your staff, and once they’re set up, you can include them as part of your work flow and it won’t feel so overwhelming.

Besides, it turns out that paying attention to online reviews and social media does more than help you look modern, it also has bottom line benefits.

According to the Harvard Business Review:

“Within six months after having an omnichannel shopping experience with a business, customers logged 23 percent more repeat shopping trips to that retailer’s stores and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends more so than those who used a single channel.”

Now that you know this, you’re probably ready to assess your online presence and see how to make it boost your bottom line.

As you probably know, online has a lot of opportunities to build brand awareness, educate your customers, bring a smile to people’s faces, and provide stellar customer service. If you’ve ignored or neglected some of these arenas, don’t worry, you can start improving them today. Here are 6 ways you can connect online with digital shoppers.

#1. Online Reviews Are So Important

According to an article in Inc., 84% of people trust online reviews as much as the recommendations of their friends and family and 91% of people read them.

Where do you want your reviews? Start with Google Business (more on that in a moment) and Facebook. These are the first stops for many, when making purchasing decisions.

Additionally, make sure that your contact information is correct and up-to-date across all review sites and your social media profiles. If you’ve moved your store and your online data isn’t up to date, it hurts you in SEO and frustrates would-be customers who may not know where you’ve gone.

Happy customers are happy to leave reviews but don’t rely solely on proactive customers. You can (and should!) encourage them to leave reviews by outright asking them at the cash register, in your social messaging and/or in follow up emails.

#2. Work Your Social Channels

As a pet retailer, you have the best subject matter for social media possible. Why not use the internet’s fondness for cats and dogs to your advantage?

You can show pets playing with toys in your store. You can show pets modeling raincoats, Halloween costumes or even new leashes and collars.

You can even use the video function on your smart phone to shoot brief educational videos on pet food brands. Why not answer the most frequently asked questions about pet food on video and use that on your social media?

Get creative and you’ll be surprised by the opportunities you have to create useful content that will stand out in your customer’s social media feeds.

Check out this hilarious video shot by a consumer at NYC Pets in Brooklyn, New York

#3. Have a Dedicated Team Member(s) Manage Your Social

Successful social media is more than an occasional Facebook post. It takes creativity and a mix of graphics, videos, and written content, to work. It also requires daily care.

Enlist a team member or two to help create content, schedule it, and respond to inquiries. If you have an young eager staff use them! If there is one thing they understand it is social media, and they may jump at the opportunity to help out.

You may find it helpful to schedule social media time just like you’d schedule other meetings. Make sure the message is clear for all employees and, if necessary, schedule time for training on both the tools and ways to create content.

Would you read a blog about creating social media content?

#4. Customer Service via Social Media

In today’s always on world, customers expect a real-time response. Even if it is 10pm on a Sunday the day before a holiday and you're 5 miles into the woods with no WIFI, you'd better be answering their question.

Sounds crazy right? It's not... If a customer or potential customer sends you a Facebook message asking you don’t respond within an acceptable limit, then you've lost them. It's harsh, but true.

Take the time to answer your customers. Facebook makes this so easy! You can even set away messages and measure your response rate time.

Also, by including that dedicated team member(s) as part of the response team, you’ll make sure you have back up when you're not available. Doing this will ensure no customer is left hanging, and no potential sales are lost.

#5. Your Website, Yes You Need One

Did you know that 50% of people who find you via a local search will visit your store within 24 hours? (Search Engine Land). One of the ways they will find you is your website. That means you definitely want one, AND you want it to be clean, mobile responsive, on-brand, SEO-friendly with clear message, contact and location information. You may even consider adding a chat function to your site for ease of contact.

You don't have to have a big elaborate website, in order to succeed, but you do need to have one. Keep it simple and just be sure to included these few basic features. Even a very simple website presence will serve you better than none at all.

#6. Google Your Business, What are the Results?

Too many retailers have overlooked this or just don’t fill it out correctly. I can't stress this enough, make sure your Google information is up-to-date! If you’re not sure, try "Googling" your store name and review what appears on the SERP’s (search engine results page)

Is it up-to-date with your images, correct address, and hours? If so, great. If not, take a few minutes and update it... then, you can encourage customers to leave reviews for you.

So there you are, six ways you can make sure you’re helping your customers find you online. Create a plan, put these elements into place and six months from now you too can be enjoying more referrals and frequent customers.

What methods do you use to connect with your digital shoppers?

Share below, and don't forget to subscribe for future blog posts and updates.

About Jen Phillips April

A web writer since 2005, Jen’s written over 1000 articles on pet-related topics. She’s also led dozens of blogging and social media-themed workshops for small businesses around the country both virtually and in person. Passionate about both pets and digital marketing, you can find out more at When not working with her fabulous clients, you can find her eating tacos and practicing her Spanish in her adopted home of the Riviera Maya.