12 Apr Who’s the Audience for Your Website?
Your business website is a showcase as well as a tool. As a wholesaler or manufacturer, you may think that you are selling only to your retailers, but keep in mind that consumers searching for your products may arrive at your website and want information, too. It’s important to consider all of the potential audiences for your company and its products. In this post, we will look at how you can enhance the content on your website to offer something to both end customers as well as your main market of wholesale accounts.
The easiest thing you can do is make sure that your website directs customers to your retailer outlets. If you are not selling your product directly to consumers, you want them to know where they can get it. Featuring a directory arranged by geography gives a boost to both your product and your network of retailers. It’s essential to keep this directory up-to-date to minimize disappointment. Include online retailers as well as physical stores to give your customers the widest range of shopping options.
If your retailers carry only some of your products, you may want to add a disclaimer to that effect: “We make and sell glass beads in 10 sizes and more than 100 colors and finishes. Please note, not every retailer is going to carry our entire product line in their inventory.” You would not believe how many customers walk into a brick-and-mortar store looking for one very specific product and get angry when it’s not there. It may be worth your while to have images of all 100 colors and finishes accessible to the end consumer on your website because at least then when they walk into the store, the retailer can order the desired product from you on the customer’s behalf. Customers often use a manufacturer’s websites to pre-shop colors, sizes and materials before making a purchase from a retailer, so having that information available benefits you, your retailer and the customer. Or you can enroll in Shopatron and consumers can order from your website and have their order shipped from your retail fulfillment partners. It’s a nifty solution that gratifies consumers and retailers while keeping you out of direct-to-consumer sales.
The working part of your website, where your wholesale accounts can place and track orders, make payments and returns and accomplish the other tasks of doing business, should be hidden from consumers. You can segregate it by having some kind of log-in access for the private portal. It’s probably not necessary, but some companies maintain two completely separate websites-one for dealers, one for consumers.
Since your website is also your company’s window to the world, you want to have consumer-friendly content on it that creates excitement about your brand and your products. An example common in the fiber-craft industry is patterns using a company’s yarns. By having a mix of free and paid patterns downloadable on the consumer-accessible part of your website, you are creating demand for your yarns at the retailer level. You can enhance exclusivity by having some patterns available behind your log-in access for your retailers to give to their customers free with yarn purchase. The shops may have staff make display samples of these exclusive patterns to drive sales of the required yarn.
Another way to create consumer excitement about your products is to offer other forms of engagement on your website. Having a gallery where your customers can upload pictures of the projects they have made with your products is a great way to make them feel like they are part of the family. Their photos inspire like-minded crafters and your products gain demand through the increased exposure. You can also control the focus on your product line by promoting a craft-along of a particular pattern or project made from a specific product. This kind of customer engagement is great for your retailers, too, as it provides them with marketing ideas around your product line and can help drive demand from the consumer level up through to your wholesale customers.
Perhaps your company doesn’t sell craft materials but ancillary products. Having consumer-friendly content on your website like tutorials or how-to videos of your product in use gives consumers a better idea of what your product does and why they might want to use it. For example, one of our clients, Eucalan delicate wash features “Laundry Lessons” on their website. If it’s compelling content that goes viral, customers will search for a local retailer of your product or inquire about your product at the local store that they think should be selling it. That retailer, in turn, approaches you about carrying your product and suddenly you have a new account and a new market.
It’s hard to create and maintain a website that can be all things to all levels of customers, but it’s possible to make choices that reach different segments of the audiences for your product. Contact Leanne@stitchcraftmarketing.com to get started tailoring your website’s content for your best marketing strategies.