- Brands rely heavily upon a network of independent, local retailers to drive high-consideration purchase decisions, yet many localized retailer websites lack the visual identity, product information and local purchase information to drive leads and increase revenue.
- A recent data audit looked at the discrepancy between brands and independent retailer websites to evaluate the effectiveness of brand presence and product listing details.
- Findings of the audit reveal how misinformation, online ineffectiveness, and/or brand non-compliance, on the part of the dealer, can have significant consequences.
- These shortcomings impact the buyer journey and stifles sales leads and purchases.
Every brand has a story. Many rely on independent, local retailers to help tell that story. Unfortunately, according to audit data gathered from more than 1,000 local retailer websites, many aren’t prepared to present the brand information needed to drive local sales leads or to increase revenue.
Research data shows there are pieces missing in the puzzle, but solutions exist to fill the gaps and solve the bigger picture issues – brand consistency, cohesion, and increased sales conversions between the brands and the dealers.
Retailer audit overview
PowerChord, a leading technology and marketing company offering digital solutions for multi-location brands, recently conducted its first Local Retailer Audit Report to learn more about the issues.
The April 2020 report aggregates the audits of 49 brands representing more than 1,000 independent retailer websites.
It was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a given brand’s presence and information, and specifically looks at local retailer and dealer website details including promotions and rebates, brand cohesiveness, and backlinks.
The results reflect the overall efficacy of locally branded retailer websites.
These audits demonstrate how misinformation, online ineffectiveness, and/or brand non-compliance, on the part of the dealer, can have significant negative consequences.
Ultimately, these shortcomings impact the buyer journey and stifle sales leads and purchases.
In working with thousands of brands and their local retailers to address these common missteps and improve the relationship, we’ve seen a profound impact on branding and sales by enabling a seamless, scalable customer journey digital marketing initiatives.
The numbers in the audit speak for themselves. There are issues. But those issues start further back in the customer journey.
According to the GE Shopper Research Study in 2019, 81 percent of consumers research a product online before shopping. ROPO, Research Online Purchase Offline, is a common term, and it’s critical to local retail sales if the website provides quality information.
The buyer journey
But, here’s an all-to-typical scenario: As a consumer researches and finds a product of interest, the brand website offers links to a local dealer. The consumer then goes to the dealer’s website.
At this point, it’s likely there’s little specific information about the preferred brand and if it exists, chances are the images and details don’t meet brand standards. So, what happens next?
This is a lot of steps without satisfaction, so too often the customer gives up, which benefits no one. Not the brand, the dealer or the customer.
Why the breakdown? The PowerChord audit data shows that 60 percent of local retailers are missing specific brand information on their sites, and 55 percent have only limited product information or details.
While almost every small business has a website, most aren’t effective or efficient in promoting and selling specific brands. Most local retailer sites don’t have the ability to maximize value in converting search to sales.
However, having convenient access to well designed, comprehensive and cohesive sites that include consistent, quality brand images, product information, promotions, etc. is cost effective and ultimately results in sales.
If the brand and the local dealer partner together, there’s a flow to move the consumer through the research process to present viable, relevant information that’s both current and consistent.
When the right technology is in place to drive that customer’s research through to an actionable sales lead for the local retailer, it ultimately leads to a purchase decision for the brand.
Driving web traffic with technology
Local dealers often remain focused on trying to get people through their doors but there’s an opportunity to look at the full marketplace and use that digital research to drive website traffic and ultimately sales by presenting targeted information and current promotions based on real-time data.
PowerChord marketing technology can create plans based on a wealth of brand data beyond just one retailer. It’s like a coach being able to view tendencies of an entire league before developing a playbook.
It’s not easy for a local retailer to be able to manage a digital marketing platform, ensure the website is updated, monitor online interaction and follow through on leads.
The dealers often assume the brand is doing that work, and the brand looks to the dealers. It has to be a partnership; one that the right digital marketing and technology solution can create. Brands and dealers have to be able to generate and hand off leads to one another.
Using technology to understand the customer
Targeted awareness combined with consistent information is a powerful tool, especially when recognizing local needs. Our team works closely with brands like STIHL to help guide their local participating dealers in promoting STIHL chainsaws, allowing them to pivot following Hurricane Irma.
Their websites changed from planned images and information promoting backpack blowers to a more appropriate “storm clean up” message. Consumers got what they really needed because local detailers could customize the consumer journey through packaged technology.
From a brand perspective, the initial local retailer audit findings were bleak, no doubt. As an example, nearly 60 percent of retailers are completely missing brand information on their local websites. But, that doesn’t automatically mean all bad news.
There are turn-key solutions to common issues with brand consistency and lead generation and those solutions stem from enabling brands and dealers to make better decisions locally to drive informed consumer purchases.
In simple terms, it’s an ‘easy button’ to drive viable local website traffic and convert it to actionable sales leads.
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