Aaron Whitman, President and Chief Strategist at Able Sense, spoke to business owners whose businesses depend on or are driven by tourism, and explained how ecommerce makes it easier to turn new customers into loyal customers.
Why use ecommerce with a tourism-driven business
2.3 million people visited Nova Scotia in 2019. In a normal tourist season, the experiences and walk-in traffic are what drives sales…but not necessarily a sale on the trip. For example, a large piece of art may not be able to travel home on a cruise ship. It just makes sense to give the visitor more opportunity to purchase from you, either onsite, and shipped later, or ordered from you when the customer gets home.
If a sale were made in-store, however, don’t let it be the last. While tourism promotes purchases for nostalgic purposes, it’s also a great opportunity to explore new tastes and products, ones that your customers can share with their friends and family when they get home. As well, their social media mentions drive more customers to your store and to your site.
“Make it easier for your new customers to become loyal customers”
Be ready! In your place of business, make sure you have good free wifi available (with a password, of course). Post your Instagram handle and suggest some hashtags. Make it easy for your customers to share their experience on social media and to give you their email address for discounts, newsletters and other permission-based marketing.
Benefits of Shopify as your ecommerce platform
First Sale to Full Scale: Shopify is one platform with all the ecommerce and point of sale features you need to start, run and grow your business. Aaron gave several compelling reasons why we love Shopify (because everything is in one place). Start with a domain name, then go ahead and sell everywhere: social media channels, your website, mobile and in-person POS, Amazon, Walmart, Ebay… It also includes built-in marketing tools and the ability to manage everything on a single dashboard. Finally, the options are limitless when you extend your opportunities with fully-supported Shopify apps like Bold Subscriptions, Gift Cards (currently free with Basic Shopify), and Zapiet Store Pickup and Delivery.
What businesses would benefit from ecommerce?
In regions like the Annapolis Valley, tourism brings new customers to the farm gate. We have worked with both Domaine de Grand Pre and Lightfoot & Wolfville Winery to provide ecommerce solutions for their businesses that allow them to continue sharing their incredible products and bringing in revenue with wine clubs, options for customers to buy online and pickup at the winery, and shipping across Canada.
Ecommerce makes it easy for visitors to bring more art into their lives. We’ve worked with Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to help them set up Shopify POS for memberships, donations, programming and their gift shop, as well as helping the Teichert Gallery to increase artist exposure and boost their online sales. Visitors can research their artists and collections from anywhere, then purchase the perfect piece online or at your gallery.
What if I have to launch yesterday?
We set up Le French Fix - a small French pastry shop - with a quick and basic Shopify store. With time being of the essence, they launched in two days with a pre-built theme and a collection of about ten of their products. The owner then set time slots at their pickup window. With 100% of their marketing coming from Instagram and emailing existing customers, they had their first sale within 20 minutes of going live.
Tourism may drive your business, but its benefits shouldn’t stop when the visitors return to their homes (or if they can’t get to you at all!). By harnessing ecommerce in smart and innovative ways, you can grow these customer relationships and reach new audiences. And Shopify is a great place to start.
In response to the COVID-19 situation, we will help as many small businesses as we can. We can probably provide our ecommerce website development services within your budget - just ask!
We will use our expertise as Shopify Partners and to get you operating online ASAP.