Lying in bed the other night I asked my fiancée Gaetana, “Do you like my beard like this length?”
I had been growing it out for about three-weeks; it was time to ask the judge for a ruling!
“I don’t notice a difference….it looks the same as it always does,” she replied.
Despite being bald, I’m a pretty hairy guy so this was NOT the answer I was expecting. My beard had grown long enough that I often found myself playing with it and twirling the whiskers between my fingertips. How could she not notice the difference?
But it was late and I certainly understand that no one knows Mark like Mark! Maybe the subtle change was just a bit too subtle for anyone other than me to notice.
The next morning before I left for work, I was pulling in the trash cans in from the end of my driveway just as my neighbor Fred walked out of his house. We noticed each other right away and I gave him my standard “Hey Fred!” while I turned back towards my house to drag in the garbage cans.
In that moment, Fred could have said anything! “Hey Mark!” would have been a fine reply if he wasn’t in the mood to chat. “How’s the drone flying going Mark?” would have been timely and gotten him more than a smile and a wave. “Nice day out” is always polite.
Fred chose: “Hey Mark, you growing your beard long?”
HE WAS MORE THAN 30 FEET AWAY! Mental note: close the blinds at night….Fred sees well for a man his age!
But the ability to notice details from a distance is not a talent exclusive to Fred.
Customers who interact with your stores want to notice the details of the shopping experience you offer and like Fred: they want to do it from a distance! In-fact, they don’t even want to get up off the couch! Gone are the days when prospective customers looked in the yellow pages, saw that you were in their neighborhood and sell a brand that they are comfortable with and then came in to “look around.”
Today, consumers and prospective consumers want to get to know you before they will even walk into your stores.
More-and-more, paint-buying consumers start their buying journey with a design blogger, a post on Reddit or a post on Pinterest. Laying on their couches, they select the paint, the finish, the colors and may even decide on the tools that they need to get the job done.
The buying comes later and is a much easier step for the consumer than it ever used to be. Once it’s clear what they need, they often just follow links given to them by the blogger or Reddit and off they go.
But buying paint online is still a challenge and so at some point most prospective paint purchasers start looking for a local paint supplier to meet their needs.
And they do that from the couch!
That means that each of us NEEDS a website which helps consumers not only learn about your story but also is connected to, mimics or at-least is similar to your in-store shopping experience.
Notice, I didn’t say you WANT a website that can do that!
Gone are the days where a Facebook page with a handful of likes and a website with your address and a list of brands which you sell are enough. A robust website that highlights the shopping experience that your stores offer is a requirement of retailers in the modern age.
Your web site needs to show clearly what services your stores offer if you want the site to drive business into you stores.
If you offer in-home design or color services, it requires more than just a mention on your web site: highlight it! Millennials-the reason us boomers are stuck living life on the internet-are more inclined than boomers to have their hands held during a paint purchase. Services like designer or color consultations are exactly what modern consumers are attracted to. And good news for independent retailers: many of us offer those services and millennials are willing to pay for it!
Free same-day delivery is another attention-getter which should be front and center. You should be thinking long and hard about charging for local deliveries if you currently do. It’s a turnoff to consumers.
Websites that link to ACTIVE social media accounts are a great tool and are part of the hand-holding that this generation wants. Your social media accounts need to not only be front and center on your website so that they’re easily reached, they need to be relevant and useful to anyone interested in painting. And they should be filled with creative painting ideas that consumers can execute with products bought in your stores.
Websites these days are a cheap and easy aspect of the business to manage and keep updated so there’s no excuse not to! And if you need someone with a real attention to detail to look at yours, give Fred a call…..he doesn’t miss a thing!