As buyers, we choose where to buy based on two questions. Firstly, there’s “is this the product or service I want at the right price?”. And secondly, there’s “do I want to do business with this company?”
Either of these can be answered in advance of the customer entering the store, whether it’s a shop or online. For example, if I want to buy a new fridge, I might decide what I want, based on reviews, without asking any advice from potential sellers. Then I may even decide where to buy it, based on previous experience or branding, without ‘shopping around’. So if I just go online and buy an AEG S74010KDX0 from John Lewis, it’s the result of a lot of work by AEG in ensuring the product was reviewed widely, and by John Lewis in convincing me their price and service will be good.
However, if I’d never heard of (or shopped at) a particular retailer before, they’d need to sell themselves to me before I’ll buy from them. Where many online stores go wrong is that they fail to do this. Whether it’s through advertising or a Google search, you’re taken straight to the product’s “buy here” page. But who are these people? Even if I’d already decided I wanted to buy an AEG S74010KDX0 this weekend, if a stranger turned up at my front door with one tonight, I doubt I’d buy it, however low the price.
That’s why you can spend as much money as you like getting people straight to a product page on a web store, but if the page is little more than a data sheet, don’t expect them to click the “buy now” button at the bottom without any more effort on your part. You’ve got to sell yourself as a supplier too.
Now, the majority of you will not even have an online store. So does this have any relevance? Yes it does. You’ve still got to sell yourself as a supplier before most people will click the “enquire now” link. I’m sure that a prospect can read about a product, find their way to the “About Us” page, then find their way back to the product page to make an enquiry. But could you make the whole process easier for them?