Although I believe every industry was bound to head in this direction eventually, the pandemic collectively pushed everyone toward e-commerce more rapidly. And I think it's a positive change, especially for industries like window and door, custom building products, and home improvement supplies that were not typically considered ideal candidates for this space.
But now that most of us have spent the past year ordering everything from groceries to garage doors while sitting on the couch in our pajamas, we're not likely to settle for less convenient options even after the world is fully open again. So we're finding and ordering more and more specialized items like decks, paint and window screens online now, and that's good.
However, in the rush to remain relevant during the pandemic and jump into the dot-com space, businesses that deal primarily in brick and mortar were prone to overlook some key success factors. Now that we've all had some time to step back a bit and catch our breath, even if you've been in the dot-com space for a while, it would be wise to revisit and reevaluate the effectiveness of your current online presence and overall marketing strategy.
Marketing is more than posting to Facebook once a week and doing some ads here and there. Marketing is every single way that you present your product and your business. So here's a checklist to get you started:
1. How's Your Website?
Is it clean, modern-looking, uncluttered and easy enough for your grandma to place an order without having to call her grandson (or your customer service team) for help? Abandoned carts happen when people lose patience with the process, so placing an order from start to finish should be utterly intuitive with as few steps as possible.
2. How's Your Social Life?
Successful e-commerce and effective marketing go hand-in-hand. There is a perception that the window and door industry is pretty strait-laced, older and more traditional. Still, I'm always surprised when companies don't take advantage of this goldmine opportunity and, instead, opt for less effective and way more pricey options like billboards, radio and TV ads. It's time to break the stereotype and get social! Put way more attention and budget toward your online presence. Find fresh ways to market your goods and services and elevate brand awareness. Hiring a tech-savvy marketing director or even a digital marketing agency is a very wise way to allocate funds. Remember: a great website is useless if you're not driving anyone to it.
3. How's Your Customer Service?
Everyone hates bots. A computerized voice trying to guess what I need and sending me through endless unsatisfying loops is maddening. While authentic, genuine marketing helps to humanize your organization, nothing will endear a frustrated customer faster than a friendly real voice connecting and empathizing with them. I realize it may be challenging to find the budget for this, but consider the potential lost revenue (and bad reviews) that result when people feel like you don't care.
4. How's Your Soul?
If you're seen as simply a money-making machine whose only purpose is to mass-produce products or sell services with no avenue to "give back," you'll be missing out in more ways than one. Today's consumers love tying their purchases to a larger purpose. Companies whose websites feature a clear mission statement that involves supporting a worthy cause or making more ecologically responsible efforts are more appealing to today's consumers and more fulfilling to be a part of too.
Marketing is more important than ever and easier than ever, too. 2020 was pretty ruthless, but it also delivered opportunities for positive, if unexpected, change. The potential to drive your business to new heights in 2021 is there; you just have to be willing to reevaluate, embrace change and market like you mean it.