We have often discussed the many ways in which companies can work towards growing their businesses using our merchant cash advances as their sources of working capital. Expansion, renovations, buying new equipment and advertising are always popular choices and are among are biggest recommendations of what to do with their newfound money.
While all of these ideas are important ones, it is imperative for entrepreneurs to keep in mind that we are living in very modern times. And while one of our esteemed colleagues here at Synergy Merchant Services insisted that he loves nothing more than listening to his music on vinyl records, the majority of his co-workers just love bumping their favourite tunes on their mp3 players – a method that he insisted we write provides inferior sound quality.
The whole point, of course, is that in this day and age, most people enjoy easy and convenient access to all sorts of information and entertainment. The primary source to do so? The internet, of course. And if you don’t have your business well represented online, chances are that you are severely hurting your bottom line.
In an article by Julie Fortier, published by the Financial Post earlier this month, it was revealed that most consumers check out products and information online before walking into the store to pick up their items of choice. Retailers who are not considered “tech-savvy” therefore, run the risk of losing out on a potentially huge customer base.
According to a global-wide IBM survey of 28,0000 consumers that was released just a couple of weeks ago, an overwhelming majority of shoppers today use the internet to preview retailers before doing their shopping. The survey, which included a poll of 4,000 Canadians, revealed some staggering findings.
Fortier writes that “The study revealed 84 per cent want to use websites to access and print coupons, 75 per cent want to use mobile phones to find out where the nearest store is located and 72 per cent want to see what goods are in stock before going into the store.”
This definitive evidence insists that retailers make the most of their online marketing strategies. Providing as much pertinent information about products online as possible is clearly a key factor in succeeding in the marketplace in 2010 and beyond.
Following the release of the survey’s findings, John Dawkins, IBM’s Canadian retail sector lead had this to say: “Canadian retailers need more sophisticated analytics of product and customer segmentation at the household and individual level.The reality is most retailers have built a product-centric approach and have challenges when it comes to integrating constantly changing customer profiles though multiple touch points like call centres, kiosks, point of sale, employee interaction, and imobile.”
The survey revealed that businesses could increase their customer case by 54 per cent if they both improved the way they deliver their customized promotions and hired more knowledgeable sales associates.
Says Diane Brisebois, president and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada: “Building and maintaining customer loyalty is critical in the highly competitive retail market. Incorporating new technologies that enhance a customer’s shopping experience go a long way toward solidifying brand loyalty and increasing sales.”