Finding Your Way in Infinity

Finding Your Way in Infinity

Location, Location, Location – the real estate mantra – suggests that the value of a property depends in large part on where it is.

The same is true in retail, for product manufacturers. In brick and mortar stores, you vie for (and spend for!) end-cap displays and front-of-store locations because they increase the chances of getting the attention of your potential customers. You hope to divert those customers to products they hadn’t been considering, on the way to what had been their target purchase.

Online retail raises the importance of location almost infinitely, forcing you to vie for site and category landing pages. Location is so much more important online than at brick and mortar retail because the online retailer has “infinite shelf space” – they can stock as many items as they choose. If you want a potential customer to see your product, where do you place it in an infinite online space?

On the one hand, infinite shelf space might be great for manufacturers. After all, you can only sell what’s on the shelf, and it’s costly to drive potential customers to your own website. However, unless customers mention your brand in their search terms, they will be inundated with hundreds or thousands of search results, leaving your brand at the mercy of some sorting algorithm such as private label, price, free shipping, color, average reviews, or ‘recommended’.

While online commerce will continue to increase the number of infinite shelves for potential customers to navigate, a more effective way for you to compete and even to thrive is to know who your actual customers are and to develop relationships with them. Knowing who your customer is and what they already bought allows you to tell them about new offerings that they are likely to be interested in without requiring them to “walk by” an end-cap display or even stop to look at what’s available on the landing page.

Let’s look at some examples of how effective this can be:

  • A maker of small kitchen appliances introduces a new air fryer. If they knew who bought their similar small appliances like a bread maker, rice cooker, or pasta maker, they could alert those customers to the new offering and tell them where to find it – whether brick and mortar or online – reducing the threat of competitive brands capturing their attention first.
  • A DSLR camera maker educates a new customer on the various options of lenses they might want and how to use them. If future purchases indicate an interest in a certain type of photography, the camera maker could refine future communications to what they know matters to that customer.

Creating positive relationships with customers has benefits beyond suggesting additional purchases or services, including:

  • Leading a customer to always specify your products when conducting a search, creating a shortcut through infinity right to your door.
  • Creating positive word of mouth, influencing potential customers to look for your brand.
  • Learning what features your customers value, or don’t, so you can design future products your customers will want.

Relationships usually begin when both parties introduce themselves. But manufacturers and their end customers rarely get that far, since most transactions occur at arm’s length. So RacerX created Snap4that to facilitate and motivate an “introduction”. Snap4that makes it easy to get to know who your customer is and to guide them to your spot on the infinite shelf. Contact us to learn more.