museums&MORE Winter 2012
Editor’s Letter: Make Your Presence Known

Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer the feel of a book in my hand, a greeting card or walking the aisles of a store to their electronic counterparts. There’s just something to be said for the tactile experience.

But I do love technology and the convenience it affords me. On a professional level, Facebook, Twitter, websites and emails are a great way for me to connect with those in the industry. And while I realize that retailers are busy as well, it surprises me that my posts don’t get more response.

After all, the Internet is the fastest, easiest and most affordable way for retailers to get their store’s name and brand out for all to see. This doesn’t mean you have to sell items online, but rather that making your online presence known draws people in and helps you to expand your network and your retail community.

In fact, according to a new study from E-tailing Group, a consulting firm that specializes in e-commerce, consumers find better information about products in a physical store than they do from an online shop.

The study compared the experience of finding product information at multichannel retailers’ bricks-and-mortar locations vs. their online shops. Physical stores scored a 3.98 out of 5 across the 50 items evaluated, while online stores averaged 3.05.

Mystery shoppers concluded that the in-store experience is still far more robust than what one finds comparably online when stellar store associates are part of the equation. Specifically, in-store associates were found to be knowledgeable and their sales knowledge ranked 4.18 out of 5.

That’s good news, but to get customers into the store, you have to make the most of your Internet presence. The study also found that while store locators now appear on many retailers’ sites, many don’t provide all the basic information consumers need to make a store visit, such as hours, directions and maps.

The moral of the story?

In order to be at the top of anyone’s list, you have to make the most of your Internet presence. Facebook and Twitter are free, and your website is an invaluable resource.

And while you’re at it? Drop a note or two to a certain magazine editor – online or on the phone – to let her know what’s going on in your stores. She’ll be most grateful.

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