Vapor / eCig Industry:  Converting High Performance Mod Window Shoppers

Vapor / eCig Industry: Converting High Performance Mod Window Shoppers

Everybody wants to get the best deal.

In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my clients who own ecig retail and wholesale businesses regarding a particular challenge. Their vapor customers have begun to use their establishments as a ‘window shopping’ resource where they identify the devices they would like to have, then ultimately end up purchasing from somewhere else (usually online).  Their high performance mod sales are down and uncertainty has begun to set in. Fortunately there are specific things which can be done to address this issue which can be effective for retailers as well as wholesalers.

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to work with many vapor industry business owners across the country, some of which have created tremendously successful businesses and others which have struggled to keep their doors open.  As the business development manager for a vapor hardware distribution company, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the owners of these businesses on a daily basis.  In that role I began to notice some commonalities among the most successful of the bunch and now that I work with many of these same companies in a somewhat different capacity, the traits which the most successful owners have in common have begun to stand out.

One of these traits which relates particularly to declining high performance mod / hardware sales, is having the ability to identify market trends and adapt accordingly.  In fact, I have found the most successful tend to be the ones who identify market trends which most vapor industry business owners would see as negative and are able to reframe these ideas in ways which are beneficial to their business.   In recent weeks I have had several discussions with my vapor industry clients regarding decreases in high performance mod sales and felt this would be a good opportunity to offer some suggestions to those having the same experience. Before I get into that, it is important to consider the bigger picture of what is actually taking place.

High Performance Device Trends

I departed from the vapor hardware distribution business to develop FogPusher nearly one year ago.  At that time the 70w iSticks were just coming to market and that was the most powerful device of its size available at that time.  The industry has obviously been moving towards smaller, more powerful devices however, I’m not certain that even five years ago anybody could have predicted that 200w devices of that same size or that single 18650 devices which output over 100 watts would be available now.  Improvements in battery and circuit technology have enabled the development of some of these tiny, powerful devices which are available today yet would have been considered hocus pocus only a few years ago. Since the technology required to develop these devices is still fairly new and the manufacturers who have access to it are still somewhat limited, the devices cost more.  They are more expensive to manufacture.

Why is this important?  Because every vapor customer, whether they are a seasoned vaping professionals or just getting started, want the best value they can afford when purchasing a new mod and the most valuable devices are expensive. Your customers, whether retailers or end-users, know there are online resources where they can find these products for less than what you can sell them for and likely close to what you can buy them for. In making a strictly dollar-for-dollar comparison it is impossible for you to compete.  So is it time to pack up shop and find a new business?  Not for most.  Regardless of whether you are a retailer or wholesaler, you are not going to be the cheapest in the entire world.  You CAN however, identify means of providing value in ways which justify your customer’s decision to purchase from you.

Additionally, consider what has happened in the computer business over the past 50 years.  Computers which used to take up entire rooms have now been far surpassed in power, memory and everything else, by mobile phones and these devices cost a very small fraction of what they previously did.  In

The Vapor Industry is Changing and You Must Adapt: Survival of the Fittest

For many of my clients in the vapor industry, mod sales seem to have taken a sudden dip – more so in recent months than ever before.   Some of them own vape shops, wholesale operations and others have tobacco, cigar shops and even convenience stores which also carry hardware. Luckily, there are things you can do about the situation. First it is important to realize – and get very clear about – the fact that the industry is changing and now may be the right time to reconsider your business model and overall strategy, particularly in regard to high end mod sales.

Anatolian Mods SP DNA40 - FogPusher

Converting High Performance Mod Window Shoppers

Identify and clarify your value proposition.

What value can you offer to the customer that online vendors are unable to offer or that will be more convenient for the customer?  Make sure this is clear when customers come in to look at higher end mods.

Do you offer in-store exchanges?  Returns?  Additional services outside of strictly selling them the hardware product?  Assume that the customer is going to look up online prices immediately after leaving your store.  If they are genuinely interested and do not buy it then, you can pretty much guarantee that they will anyway. Can you blame them though?  If a retail customer is shopping a $100+ device and they can save $50 buying online and cannot justify the additional expense with anything they are aware you are offering, it probably doesn’t make sense for them NOT to take the time to find the better deal.  Make sure your added-value is very clear when customers are shopping.

For wholesalers, the idea is basically the same.   Shortly after I started working in the vapor hardware wholesale business I realized that my literal objective was to increase revenue but the most effective way to do that was to help my retail business customers grow their business.   This was one of the strategies which I learned as a sales manager in the high end building material manufacturing industry which translated very nicely into the vapor industry.  Once I made it a point to go out of my way to help my customers grow their business, the entire game changed.   If you are in the vapor wholesale business, pay attention to the strategies your most successful customers are using and use your observation to help the retailers who need it.  Your product might be hardware or juice but your real value is found in the resources you have available to you which you can use to help your customers grow their businesses.

If the situation is severe, make your profit on eLiquid instead.

This one might suck to think about but if your higher end mod sales have suddenly taken a 50% or more plunge, it may be time to start thinking about including eliquid with a full price purchase of your higher end mods.  Make the same amount of profit but include something additional with the purchase.

Let’s say, if you are a retailer and have purchased devices which cost $65 each with shipping and you have them for sale for $110.   $55 profit per device.  You sell 30ml eLiquid bottles with a $15 profit per bottle.   Maybe include 3-4 30ml bottles with the full price purchase.   You’re likely saying to yourself, “I would rather not give away my mods at cost” and I certainly concur.  However, if you are one of the businesses which is seeing their customers window shop then buy online, what is the alternative?

If your retail business has seen a tremendous drop in mod sales and you do not make a change to adapt to your customer’s online buying habits, you are going to get stuck with soon to be outdated devices and may not even get the eLiquid sale.   This way you get   both sales, make some profit and retain a customer who will likely recommend your business and keep coming back.

If you are in this situation and feel this might be the right solution for you, try it for a day and see what happens. Better yet, try it with a single customer.  The great thing about all of this is that none of it has to be set in stone.  See how it works and go from there.  Chances are, as technology continues to improve and devices become more readily available manufacturer-direct, you will soon make the majority of your profit on eliquid sales anyway, if you are not already.  It may be time to start preparing.

Find ways to get rid of any high performance mods which are even slightly outdated, ideally in ways that will help you sell more eliquid.

This is particularly important but if you have been fortunate enough to not get stuck with outdated devices then this article is likely not of much use to you anyway.  Most retailers and wholesalers seem to have an inventory of mechanical mods they wish they could give away to make more room.   If you have an abundance of devices which were big in 2014, it may be time to start looking at ways to use them to bring more traffic to your shop via social media contests, giveaways, etc…

I have seen the consequences of having an enormous inventory of outdated product in stock and it gave me a new perspective on ‘breaking even’ or taking a slight loss on these products (If you still have an abundance of Kanger Protank II’s and III’s or first generation mechanical mods in stock, you likely know exactly what I mean).   There IS something worse than breaking even or taking a slight loss and it’s called never being able to sell your inventory, even if you started donating it.

If you can find ways to stimulate traffic or sell more juice using your outdated inventory, do it while you still can.  If you don’t you may find yourself calling Salvation Army to inquire on vape hardware donation tax write-offs.  I have actually never personally tried this but if you have, let me know how that worked out.  I have literally researched everything from scrapping the materials used to make outdated products to offering them to customers for free.  There are some things in this world which people do not want even if you give it to them for free.  I advise against letting outdated inventory reach that point if you can avoid it.

Set up a game plan to check and re-check your eliquid and hardware suppliers.  Make sure you are selling product that people want or even better, product they don’t know they want yet.

It might seem like a no brainer but you might also be surprised.   The industry is full of innovation these days and whether you manufacture your own eliquid or resell other brands, you want to make sure you are going about it in the most effective manner possible, while providing your customers with the best value for their money.

Vapers are typically technologically inclined individuals and many of them spend their free time on forums or blogs discussing the latest in eliquid and mod technology.  You definitely want to make sure you are offering the latest and greatest (within reasonable limits).  It can be expensive and difficult to keep up with the latest mods but as long as you have a few really awesome products to choose from, this may not even be as important as the juice is.  Make sure your juice is on point.

Overview

This article is not intended to present a doom and gloom situation but rather to offer means of going about solving issues which several of my customers seem to be experiencing.  I have worked in the vapor industry for the last few years and many of my SEO / online marketing / web design clients consist of vape shop and wholesale owners.   Since I work with businesses in the vapor industry from across the country, I also have many valuable contacts which may be of value to your business as well.

To learn more about what I can do for your business, please request a free digital marketing report or contact me and I am more than happy to talk with you about specific things we can do to increase traffic to your business and/or help it run more efficiently.

TTFN.

5 Tips for Cannabis Dispensary Success in 2019 and Beyond

5 Tips for Cannabis Dispensary Success in 2019 and Beyond

With 2019 upon us, most of the states in the US have legalized the use of cannabis, at least for medical purposes.  The success of your cannabis dispensary relies on consistently making the best choices regarding the investment of your time and money.  

But what is most important and where is the marketing budget most wisely used in 2019?

I personally make it a point to keep myself on the forefront of the dispensary marketing strategies as dispensary owners make up a significant portion of my client base. Follow these tips to get the most out of your time and money in the upcoming year.

Of course, in an ideal world, these things would have already been planned out a few months ago however, it is easy to let things get too ‘busy’ to take the time to implement marketing strategies.  This list consists of several precise suggestions for making the most of your cannabis dispensary marketing efforts. 

dispensary marketing strategies cannabis

1. Build Customer Lists and Take Advantage of Email Marketing & Rewards Programs

If you are not already collecting the names and email addresses of your customers, you should start today.  The easiest way to increase your business is by getting more business out of your existing customers.  There is a good chance that most of the people who come into your shop will not mind giving you their contact information in exchange for customer appreciation specials, special events, etc…

According to a study conducted by Outbound Engine, an outbound email marketing company, there are several shocking facts about human email behavior and email marketing specifically.  Here are a few examples:

  • Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers. (McKinsey & Company)
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25. (ExactTarget)
  • 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. (Salesforce)
  • If an email does not display correctly, 71.2% will delete it immediately. (BlueHornet)

5-tips-for-brick-mortar-marketing-success-20162. Simplify your customer purchases with cashless ATM machines.

Today’s cannabis consumers are after quality and convenience.  Making them take an extra stop to an ATM machine to withdraw cash, or using a pre-paid card may not be the most advantageous ways to go, if you prioritize the convenience of your customers.

Cashless ATM machines for medical marijuana dispensaries are becoming increasingly popular every day, and are a cost-effective way to improve your customer service, reduce cash on hand, and to simplify your life and the lives of your customers.

3. When it Comes to Online Presence, Image and Accessibility are Everything

Your website should be the hardest working, around-the-clock sales representative you have ever had.  

On the other hand, failure to use the internet as the powerful resource that it is can be detrimental to your weed business because you have much less exposure than your competitors who have likely figured this out.  That said, a professional branding and overall image is essential to the ongoing success of your dispensary.

Having a responsive website in place is one component of that, as it is important for both your users and for Google.

Since the image is such an important aspect determining the effectiveness of your online web presence, it may be time to consider re-designing your dispensary logo (or getting one professionally designed period).  I recommend Fiverr for logo design as they will enable you to have many designers compete for your business, allowing you to choose the one which fits your business best.  Best of all, the logo competitions are basically the same as what you would pay to have a single logo designed.

3. Active Social Media Participation

In 2019, simply having a dispensary Facebook page in place will not be nearly enough.  You should be consistently engaging with your potential patients and customers.

There are some programs which can make this easier on you.  HootSuite is one of the social media management programs in which you can schedule posts ahead of time, post simultaneously to various social media sites, measure audience participation and be more involved across more social media outlets without having to invest more time.  

4. Content Marketing is the Key

Content marketing is putting out information which is designed to increase your client base and engage your customers in interacting with your social media pages and keeping your existing client base.  This type of marketing requires a little more thought than some of the other 2016 brick & mortar marketing tips but it is an important one which must be considered.

Here are some examples for how to go about your 2016 brick & mortar content marketing campaigns:

  • Create and distribute content which you can use for your website to enhance existing pages.  It’s always great to kill 2 birds with 1 stone when it comes to writing content.
  • Create a series of valuable YouTube videos which teach your existing or potential patients/customers how to do something that they likely enjoy doing or have to do.
  • Create and distribute content which will attract potential clients.  Think as if you were a client and the information which you would find most useful.

5. Focus on Customer Experience, Online, and Offline

Regardless of whether or not Amazon starts selling cannabis, there is still going to be a time and place for your brick & mortar dispensary establishment.  

You are capable of providing a different type of experience than Amazon is. 

This advantage is providing an enjoyable customer experience.  There are many ways of going about this but here are a few examples:

  • Replacing or re-motivating employees who are less than pleasant towards customers.  Zack may be your buddy but if he can’t smile and treat the cannabis customers right then you are likely to be losing business as a result.
  • Optimize your website for mobile devices and for speed.   Search engines like it and so do your clients.
  • Create customer appreciation specials which provide fun experiences for your customers to come in.  Consider having a local art show or displaying local art on an ongoing basis.
  • Allow customers who come in the door to have the best experience possible, whatever it might take to make that possible.  If you sell clothes let them try them on with assistance of a worker.  If you provide a service, make candy available to your clients.
  • Make your clients smile.  It will make them want to come back.

Overview

When creating dispensary marketing strategies, the above steps will put you ahead of your competitors and provide your clients with a customer experience which makes them keep coming back and telling their friends about you.

Also, remember any time you try something new, put a system in place for tracking and measuring results so you may evaluate the overall impact and measure / optimize results.

Looking to Generate More Foot Traffic? Here Are 7 Easy Steps You Can Start Today.

Looking to Generate More Foot Traffic? Here Are 7 Easy Steps You Can Start Today.

Business slows down from time to time. It happens. Whether your business has slowed down or you are simply looking for ways to increase foot traffic to your business, there are things you can do about it which are easy on the pocket book.

Not only will these things give your old customers a reason to start coming back but they will also give your new customers a reason to start coming in today.

When planned and executed properly, the following steps will generate enormous amounts of ongoing foot traffic and in turn create a loyal client base.

Whether you’re looking to get more patients for your cannabis dispensary or you own a bowling alley, this article contains specific things you can do, which are cost effective and easy on the pocketbook.

Increasing foot traffic is all about having exposure.

When you have proper exposure, customers find you.

When you have a good product or service at the right price, are accommodating to the customers needs and people like you – repeat customers are born.

People also like things that are fresh and new.

Game Plan to Increase Foot Traffic

If you could use a major business overhaul, one idea is to set up a Grand Re-Opening. It doesn’t matter if you have new things to offer. What matters is that it is going to be something new and different.

Here are the 7 steps  (or possibly just ideas) you can take to make your Grand Re-Opening a huge success. (Even if you do not follow through with the entire re-opening or do not feel its necessary, you will surely find aspects of this which can still generate traffic for your business in a short period of time.)

Find local artists to display their artwork for sale in your store for a small percentage of the sales.  Find the artists, collect the artwork, but don’t display it until the day of the grand re-opening.

Artists will tell their friends about it and it and it will give you a fresh new image while showing the community that you support local artists.

For resources, you may check websites such as ArtPickle.com, ArtSpan.com, Etsy or if you just so happen to be here in Oklahoma City you can take a stroll around the Paseo Arts District and quickly find plenty of artists who would love the opportunity to get the exposure.

Those of you from elsewhere will surely be able to find a similar area with a quick Google Search.

 

Find a local band or DJ (if you have room for it) to come play music for a couple hours. You will be able to find somebody to do it for the exposure.  There are several great resources for this including ReverbNation.

Do a little re-arranging and de-cluttering. Put the items you have been sitting on for a while and need to get rid of next to the brand new (or cool to look at things).

Get rid of your overstock.

If you sell vapor hardware, there is a good chance you have outdated items. Mark it down, do whatever it takes to get rid of it.  If it’s outdated it’s not doing any good on your shelf.

Start collecting names and email addresses for the event.  Tell people when they come in that you don’t know what day it’s going to be yet but ask them if they wouldn’t mind an invite. If you have an tablet, there are free programs you can use to do this.

If not, use normal pen and paper.  You will ideally want to make this a practice in general, as keeping a list of the people who are interested in your business is the best way to reach out to potential customers.  I recommend doing client appreciation events from time to time.

Find a new restaurant that might be willing to provide some appetizers in exchange for the marketing exposure.  It helps if they are close-by so they can tell their customers about it too.

Displaying artwork from local artists is a great way to generate traffic from word of mouth.

Displaying artwork from local artists is a great way to generate traffic from word of mouth.

Email the names you collected once you have a set date.  Post about it on your social media. Make graphic images for it (I can help if needed). Post it on your website (if you have one). List the event on free local event websites such as: Eventbrite, Picatic, and use Google to find others. Remember, its all about exposure.  If you are excited about it, everybody else is going to follow suit.

Put out signs and balloons on major intersections the day of your Grand Re-Opening, with arrows pointing towards your shop.

This is one of the systems I learned in the custom home construction business which has translated well in helping my customers grow their vapor, smoke, cigar and tobacco businesses.

How Else Can You Help Me Generate More Foot Traffic?

I specialize in web design and marketing for all local businesses from custom home builders to nightclubs however, I originally started in freelance work with vape shop, smoke shop and cigar / tobacco shop owners.

This project came about as a result of helping a client in Florida grow his business by over 300%. He has urged me for the past year to make my web design and marketing services more readily available to the public and now they are, on a full time basis.

I am offering a free digital marketing report to create a plan of action to help you increase your traffic using the same method which worked so well for him.

The same method helped me grow a vapor hardware distribution company from having literally zero (0) sales to being one of the largest in the US, over a 16 month time frame.

Please feel free to contact me or request a free digital marketing report to learn more about how I can help your business generate more foot traffic.

Mitch Smith

FogPusher.com Modern Web Design & Marketing Solutions

(405) 463-9058

Email

Should my website have an online store? – Retailers and Service Providers

Should my website have an online store? – Retailers and Service Providers

Recently I had a discussion with one of my friends who owns a high end hair salon here in Oklahoma City.  We were discussing high-end hair products and the types of people who spend more money to purchase them through their salon stylist.  He told me that in the hair product market, you generally have three types of buyers. The first is the kind who listens to the recommendation of their hair stylist and makes the purchase from them because

The first is the kind who listens to the recommendation of their hair stylist and makes the purchase from them because its convenient, although they know the purchase could be made less expensively online or elsewhere. 

The second type will hear their stylist’s recommendation, try the product, then go home and order it online.  And the last kind

And the last kind is the grocery store buyer, who no matter what their hair stylist recommends, will end up purchasing something which works just as well from the grocery store.

 

Opternative is one of the emerging online competitors in the eye care industry.

Opternative is one of the emerging online competitors in the eye care industry.

This discussion shed a light on an interesting perspective. 

One of the topics which is eventually discussed with all of my retail shop web design clients is about the idea of having an e-commerce setup so their customers can order products online. 

In many cases, retail store owners will come to me and they already know its something they want, and rightfully so.  Online competition is thick, not only for retailers but also for service providers such as

In many cases, retail store owners will come to me and they already know its something they want, and rightfully so.  Online competition is thick, not only for retailers but also for service providers such as eye doctors, lawyers and general physicians – all of which now have online competitors which are more convenient and likely less expensive than their own services.

Today customers are interested in the convenience of ordering products and services online but there is still the concept of a customer’s buying experience. 

Online product and service providers will always be able to win on price but they are going to have a difficult time creating a buying experience which competes with that of a customer’s local alternative. 

Sure, the idea of reaching out to online shoppers and people outside of your immediate geographical area is appealing, but is it necessary or even beneficial?

OnlineShoeShoppingLets say for instance, that I am interested in buying a certain pair of shoes and I know specifically what I want.  I use  Google to find a shoe shop and it turns out the local shoe shop not only has the shoe in stock, but they also have the pricing available and the ability for me to make the purchase right there.   Since I’m already online, why don’t I check to see what they cost elsewhere?  I get back on Google and immediately find the shoes for nearly half of what they cost at the local store with free

Since I’m already online, why don’t I check to see what they cost elsewhere?  I get back on Google and immediately find the shoes for nearly half of what they cost at the local store with free

I get back on Google and immediately find the shoes for nearly half of what they cost at the local store with free 2nd day shipping – plus I don’t even have to go anywhere.  My original game plan was to go to my local shop and pick up the shoes but having the ability for me to purchase the shoes online turned me into an online shopper.

My original game plan was to go to my local shop and pick up the shoes but having the ability for me to purchase the shoes online turned me into an online shopper.

I conducted research on the topic for a recent client of mine who owns a vapor shop and my take on the subject has officially become much clearer and seemingly unique in some regards.  

I was researching competitors in their local market to see how many had products available online and to my surprise, almost every single one of them did.

I spot checked a few of their prices vs basic copy and paste Google searches and their prices were nowhere near as low as their online competitors. 

I am actually convinced that having the prices available on their

I was researching competitors in their local market to see how many had products available online and to my surprise, almost every single one of them did. I spot checked a few of their prices vs basic copy and paste Google searches and their prices were nowhere near as low as their online competitors.  I am actually convinced that having the prices available on their

I am actually convinced that having the prices available on their websites, to begin with, is doing them more harm than good.

This is likely happening much more often than people with online retail stores would like to find out about.

So, should my retail shop have an online store? 

Probably not, unless you have better or just as low of pricing as the lowest online retailers, a unique product or service which you created or a protected territory consisting of the entire United States to sell in. 

Otherwise, I feel like you might be turning your clients into online shoppers.

Fortunately, price is not the primary motivation of everybody and the convenience of having a product shipped is in many cases less convenient than just picking something up when it is needed.  

There is still hope and actually a clear advantage to local product and service providers. 

The online giants have not taken over quite yet, and will continue to have difficulty doing so as long as localization becomes increasingly more important in search engines providing relevant search results.

I hope this helps to shed the light on the question of whether or not you should implement an online store on your retail or service provider website.  Please feel free to leave comments and share with anybody to whom you feel this information might be helpful.

 

TTFN

 

Your Local Business v. Online Competition – Are You Even In the Game?

Your Local Business v. Online Competition – Are You Even In the Game?

Regardless of the industry, today, more than ever before, there exists a massive  amount of online and offline competition (the ‘Fog’ if you will) which must be properly addressed in order for your business to survive.  

This is particularly true for industries in which your competitors have revolutionized the way business is conducted, making life less expensive and/or faster (possibly better) for customers.  The mortgage/real estate industry is a perfect example of this.  If you are looking to generate mortgage or real estate leads then you need to make sure you are ahead of the market learning curve. 

If you do not have the consistent foot traffic you would like to have (or XYZ competitor down is having) then be grateful your doors are still open!  It’s time to do yourself a favor and get your arms around the depth of the problem at hand.

These tests are a bare minimum, however, for those of you less technologically inclined, it should be a good starting reference point.  

Be patient and follow the steps. 

If you are a brick & mortar business owner, the more difficulty you have doing this equates to the greater likelihood that you probably need it the most.

This is not for everybody.  Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you if you continue reading.

Disclaimer: My primary objective is to provide local businesses with resources to effectively compete, not to discourage you.  Brick & Mortar business owners are MY business.  In order to effectively compete, we must first understand the nature of the competition. In doing so, my obligation is to provide straight-forward facts and resources.  Necessary self-evaluation is usually not much fun but better now than when it’s too late.

1st Test

The effectiveness (or presence) of your business’ online existence.  Is it actually working FOR you?

If you haven’t noticed how much time your customers are spending on their phones, then do yourself a favor and pay attention.  Humans have evolved into mobile creatures and their mobile device is their second brain.

With that being said, a website in and of itself is not going to do a lot for you.

There are many websites out there and if yours is not positioned & designed correctly with the right content and strategically placed throughout the web, it’s not going to be found.  In many cases, you are going to be better off not even having one.

Additionally, not only does every aspect of your online marketing need to be congruent with your website, meanwhile directing traffic back to it, but it needs to be responsive (mobile-friendly), descriptive, and original – among other things.

How to check:

(This is just a very basic surface-level method for anybody to check.  I provide a much more in-depth analysis in my free consultation but hopefully, this will help paint the picture for those less technically inclined.)

  1. Pick up your phone (or anybody’s phone). Log out of your Google account (or anybody’s for that matter, but ask permission first). Visit Google and search for your type of business and your zip code. I.e.:  if you own a vape shop search “vape shop” and your zip code (vape shop 73118, vape shop 93102, etc… ).  If you are a dentist, nightclub, lawyer, smoke shop, tobacco shop, search for that and your zip code.  Does your business appear on the first page? Does it appear anywhere?
  2. Do the same for alternatives for searching for your general business i.e.: for a vape shop try vapor shop 73118, vaping accessories 73118, etc…  If you’re a dentist try maybe dental services 73118, oral hygienist 73118, etc…   Does your business appear on the first page?  Does it appear at all?
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 from a laptop or desktop computer.  Does your business appear in the first page?  Does your business appear at all?  (Search results may vary dependent upon where the actual search is taking place and your device’s local search settings.  Search results will definitely vary if you are logged into your Gmail / Google account as your results are personalized to your previous searches when you are logged in.)
  4. Repeat both processes, except this time, use your city instead of your zip code.  Do you come up in the first page?  Do you appear at all?

If you’re satisfied with your business’ Google search results that’s great! Proceed to next section.

If not, then you may want to contact me for a free consultation.  Feel free to do so now or proceed.

2nd Test

Check Up from the Neck Up

Business owners have more options as to the choice of their product and service providers today than they have in the past.

 

If your staff is not giving off the good vibes with a welcoming (much different than ‘in-your-face’)  attitude then there is a good chance you are feeding your online competitors (or even worse, the ones down the street) with a steady flow of business.

However, local shops DO have the ability to provide some distinct competitive advantages over online competitors including the abilities to:

  • Allow customers to experience a more hands-on, personable buying process.
  • An experience which is (ideally) more pleasant than clicking around online.
  • Provide products or services immediately vs. having to wait for mail delays.
  • Accept cash.
  • Possibly easier return process.
  • From a marketing perspective, get discovered easier and more frequently by local customers – especially when user is conducting a local searchFortunately, localization has become a priority among the major search engines as they strive to find the most relevant search results for the particular user.

These are real advantages, however, keep in mind that one bad customer interaction will make these advantages less advantageous.  Especially, considering online shopping venues have the potential advantages of:

  • Allowing for cheaper purchases (much cheaper in some industries).
  • Providing a personalized online shopping experience by saving the customer’s  previous shopping cart and effortlessly directing them towards the same purchase and effortless cross-sales presentation.
  • Allowing the customer to not have to deal with real people whatsoever or drive anywhere to shop.
  • Depending on the location of the online retailer, 1-3 day USPS shipping (could become quicker for products if Amazon has anything to say about it).  Free shipping in many cases.
  • In the medical industry, customers now have the choice of seeing a healthcare provider from the comfort of their couch, via webcam.

With that being said, it is extremely important to make sure you and your employees are able to leave their fights with their girlfriends or their political upheavals at home.  Failure to do so is costing you money – possibly in a great way.

How to Check:

  1. Search your business name on Yelp.com.  Are you listed?  Are there bad reviews?  If you’re not listed then that could be a major issue.  If you have bad reviews then pay attention to what the reviewers are saying, contact me and lets start fresh.
  2. Repeat step 1 with Facebook.com.
  3. Is having a favorable Better Business Bureau review applicable to your business?  If so, are you listed on there?
  4. Now again with any industry-specific consumer review websites (hint: Google it).

At this point, you should either be lost or confident that you are on the right track. If you’re lost – I can help.

3rd Test

Are you in the same ballpark?  Are you playing the same game?

This one I can’t help you out on as much.  You opened the business so hopefully, you had a good plan in mind for how to keep your products and services at a comparable level or above that of your local competition.

Luckily,  that is not the most important factor for a brick & mortar buyer.  They generally want quality, value, and (most importantly) convenience.

Give it to them and you are on the right track.

Lost?  There is hope.  I am here to help.  Call me at 405-496-5073.