When customers visit your local store, they can look around, get inspired and receive direct advice. Another advantage is that they can pick up the goods immediately on site, without any shipping time. That is why customers who find you through a local Google search and find out about your product range online have a high chance of completing the purchase on a short term. The most convenient solution for that is to offer them an in-store pickup via your website. Read this article to find out what the online service offers you and your customers and how you can integrate it into your ePages Store.

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As a brick-and-mortar retailer, you are in daily direct contact with your customers. Therefore, you certainly have a very clear picture of what the visitors in your store expect from you and how you can best address them. This knowledge of your target groups offers you the best conditions to address your regular customers and potential new customers online, outside the physical store. The advantage is that you can reach more consumers. Following certain methods, you can increase the traffic in your store. While bringing the benefits and convenience of online shopping into your own physical store not only provides a competitive advantage, a linked shopping experience can also result in increased reach, customer loyalty and sales.

Why should I define my target group?

Whether you want to open your own online shop, boost local marketing via online campaigns, start with content marketing or reach a new target group: Through a detailed target group definition, your marketing measures will reach exactly those buyers who are interested in your offer through various channels. The better you know the needs of your customers, the more targeted you can address your customers and convince them of your offer. If your offer and your target group do not match, you will probably not have the success you wish for. By defining your target group, you can get to know your existing, potential or new customers and their needs in detail and align your marketing in the best possible way. By analysing your target group you can find out, for example, which digital or linked services your customers want. In this way you know how to offer your customers exactly the shopping experience they expect. The advantage for you as a physical retailer: You know your customers and can use much of this knowledge to define your target group. Please note, however, that a target group analysis must be reviewed at regular intervals and, if necessary, all marketing measures must be adjusted, since the target group with its wishes and needs can change over time.

What does my business stand for and what exactly is my offer?

Before you start with the target group analysis, start with your offer and your company. Once you have clearly understood and defined what the customer benefit of your offer is, it will be easier for you to address your target group. Answer the following questions:

  • – What can you or what can your product do really well?
  • – What is the benefit of your products for your customers?
  • – What do you and your company stand for?
  • – Do you have special experience in a certain area?
  • – How do you differ from the competition?
  • – Who is your competition and where is it active?
  • – What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competition?

Take a close look at your competition and note down how you differ from it. The advantage is that you can communicate the answers to these questions as USPs (Unique Selling Points) on your website, your (online) marketing campaigns and in any marketing material. There are various online resources available for analysing the competition, from Google Trends and Google Suggest to various keyword databases, through which you can find out the search volume of certain keywords on Google and use this information to derive your potential sales potential. Relevant keyword analysis tools include, for example, the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere as well as the tools Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Answer the public, Hypersuggest, Ubersuggest, Keyword Tool, SEORCH, KWFinder, WDFIDF-Tool or BuzzSumo. Studies, publications as well as market and industry data can also be helpful in the analysis. If you already know your direct competitors in the brick-and-mortar retail, you can simply walk into the shops of your competitors and get an idea of their range of products and services.

How do I proceed with the target group analysis? Who is my target group?

One of the most important questions that every retailer must ask himself in the target group analysis is: Who is my target group? As the first step, you write down everything you already know about your existing clientele – from demographic characteristics such as age, gender and place of residence to socio-economic characteristics such as income, profession and level of education, and psychographic characteristics such as price sensitivity, media use, (buying) behaviour, lifestyle, desires, values and other situational characteristics that are relevant to buying. In addition to the knowledge you already have, personal interviews are particularly suitable for finding out more about the target group. If you are already active on social media channels, use them too to get to know your target group!

On Instagram, for example, you can ask your community questions directly or find out their preferences through surveys. The result of a target group analysis is the creation of personas, i.e. prototypical representations of the target group. Once you have collected all the characteristics of your target group and conducted interviews, you evaluate them and look for commonalities. Based on this, you develop your persona profiles (or customer avatars), which contain typical characteristics including their needs, challenges and patterns of action. Concrete examples of what a Buyer Persona can look like can be found in the Google image search. There you can select the template that best suits your needs. Initial suggestions for different types of consumers can be found in our whitepaper titled: “Omnichannel: Return of digital consumers to the real world How can brick-and-mortar retailers win them back?” Once you have created your personas, you can identify the right topics and channels that are relevant to your target group and through which you can reach them.

When is the right time to analyze my target group?

Whether you want to sharpen the image of your target group again, plan to build up your online shop, launch online marketing campaigns or implement long-term content marketing measures – this is exactly when a target group analysis is advisable. For a detailed target group analysis, you should take your time so that you can use the results with enough lead time. In this way, you can ensure that your website or campaign is optimally geared to your target group and reaches the right customers. The more precisely you know the needs of your target group, the higher are the chances of a positive effect on your sales figures. Do not forget that target group analysis is a dynamic process: The more you learn about your target group, the more accurate your analysis will be, and keep in mind that your target group may well change over time.

In physical retail, customers have the opportunity to touch, try out or to try on products. They can take a close look at the material, glance at the products from all sides, get a precise idea of the colour, in short: Grasp the products with all their senses. If you want to offer your customers a linked shopping experience and also offer your products in your own online shop, you have to convince your customers of your offer in a different way. In addition to a clear structure of your online shop, a uniform appearance or exciting information about the products, you can arouse the curiosity of your customers above all with good product photos.

Stick with one style

Your own online shop can not only have a positive effect on sales figures, it also serves to strengthen your brand and thus benefits your marketing. To achieve this, you can make use of the recognition effect by transferring the way you present your products in a stationary shop to your product photos. Is your store characterized by a minimalist style? Then your product photos should also convey this. Or do you have a specific colour palette that is characteristic for your store? Then you can also work with matching coloured backgrounds. So before you start photographing your products, decide on a style and stick to it, so that your online shop looks as professional as your stationary store.

Have the right equipment ready

Apart from the products you want to photograph, you should have the right equipment at hand. This includes:

A camera: In order to take pictures, you need a camera or a not too old smartphone with a good camera. New models in particular now have very good cameras with which high-quality photos can be taken.

Lenses: Telephoto lens, Fish-Eye lens, Wide angle lens – these are just a few examples of different types of lenses. They have a significant impact on the quality of photos and are a useful investment for retailers who photograph their products themselves. If you want to take pictures with your smartphone, there are now good lenses that can be attached to the phone.

A tripod: An absolute must for product photography. Tripods are available for cameras as well as for smartphones and offer various advantages. With a tripod, products can always be photographed from the same angle, but you also avoid blurred images caused by use. Tripods also allow longer exposure times.

Background: For good product photos a uniform, calm background is important. You should therefore have a suitable background for your product photography setup. You can buy mini studios or photo tents for this purpose, but with cardboard, sheets or plastic plates you can set up your own mini studio cheaply and quickly. When choosing the colour, the background should match your products as well as the colour palette of your retail store.

Lights: For high-quality product photos you need one or more suitable light sources. Depending on your budget and style, light boxes or tents may be right for you, or you may use desk lamps with strong light or construction spotlights. Whatever you choose, the same principle applies here: stick to a consistent style, so choose one type of lighting and do not change it. This will prevent your product photos from looking different.

Reflective materials: White reflective materials such as white cardboard or styrofoam reflect some light from the light source to areas of the product that require more light.

A dust cloth: Especially in detail shots, bright light and dark background, dust can be very noticeable on product photos. Please have dust cloths ready and check before and during the shooting if you need to use them.

Before you start taking pictures, you should definitely check your products again: Are they clean, intact and not scratched? Are there fingerprints on the products? Or labels that may need to be removed before taking pictures? Before you invest a lot of time in a product shoot and have to schedule a new shoot because of a mistake that was noticed late, you better make sure in advance that the products are ready for photography.

Get inspired

If you’re not yet sure which style you want to choose for your product photos, be inspired by the preferences of your target group and your competition. How other companies present their products can give you ideas about how you want to photograph your products – but also how you can stand out from your competition. If you have the opportunity to interview your target group or your customers, find out which shops they still like and look at them too for inspiration.

Select the correct camera settings

Once you have decided to work with a camera, you should familiarize yourself with important settings to get the most out of your product photos. Take the manual and start experimenting! A few terms you should know are aperture value, white balance and exposure value:

– Aperture value: With DSLR or good compact cameras, you should be able to set the aperture value. A shallow depth of field can be achieved with a small aperture value, a deeper depth of field with a high value. In short: the higher the value, the more focus.

– White balance: The white balance can be used to control the color temperature of the light. This means that you can correct color distortions caused by the type of lighting used. For product photos, white balance is important so that the colours of the products are displayed correctly and customers are not surprised when they arrive or pick up the goods. By accurately displaying the colors, you can reduce the number of returns or returns.

– Exposure value: The exposure value can be used to determine the amount of light present in an image. The correct value can be used, for example, to prevent an image from being darkened, i.e. underexposed, when it is taken against a bright background. The exposure compensation features are available on most digital cameras. If this is not the case, you can edit the brightness of your image after the shooting with image editing programs or image editing apps.

Take photos of your products from different angles

Your online shop cannot (and should not) replace the shopping experience in your store. However, to give your customers an idea of what you have to offer, you should photograph your products from several angles. Your customers can then view the goods from all sides. For example, if you sell clothing, you should not only photograph your products from the front and back, but also from the side, and pay particular attention to detail. If the product on offer has an embroidery, for example, it is worth taking a close-up to make it easier to recognise. It is also important to show customers different photos of the different variations of the product – for example, the different colors.

Take your time with image editing

The concept for your product photos, the products, the setup and the shooting are important factors for the perfect product photo. To get the best out of your photos, don’t forget the image editing. Not only can you ensure the quality of the photos, but you can also ensure that your product images have a consistent size and style. If you take the pictures with your smartphone, you have access to many free photo editing apps. With image editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, which are also available as smartphone apps, you can even save your own settings and apply them to any image as a template, called a preset.How to create high-quality product photos for your online shop

The impact of the Corona crisis on retail is immense. In Germany and many other European countries shops have to stay closed, with a few exceptions such as grocery stores or drugstores. Many stationary retailers – especially owners of smaller shops – fear for the survival of their business. One of the biggest fear factors is uncertainty: Nobody knows how long the restrictions will last and when retail will return to normal. At the same time, sales of many online retailers are increasing and more and more customers are having their goods delivered to their homes easily and safely.

The good news for brick-and-mortar-retailers is that it’s easy to build an online presence and reach customers. This not only boosts your sales but also offers your customers more convenience. In the best case, you can turn them into regular customers who will remain loyal to your business even after the Corona crisis is long over.

Create a free online shop with the stayopen initiative

To be accessible on the internet and to offer services such as Click & collect, you need an online shop. This also serves as a digital showcase for your shop where you can present your products. In order to help small shop owners limit the loss of sales through Corona, ePages has launched the stayopen initiative together with partners such as PAYONE, Hostpoint, Hostalia and Vilkas. As a brick-and-mortar-merchant, you can quickly create your own online shop with this initiative which will be free of charge until at least the end of June. If the regulations on shop closures persist or if risk groups still need to be protected, the shop will be free of charge beyond that date. No previous knowledge is required to create the shop. You manage it comfortably in the browser. You can choose from a variety of design templates, add products and edit the other content. The shop is always perfectly displayed on all end devices such as PCs, smartphones and tablets.

The free online shops can be created via the following websites:


www.payone.com in Germany

www.vr-payment.de in Germany

www.hostpoint.ch in Switzerland

www.boxecommerce.com in France

www.hostalia.com in Spain

www.vilkas.fi in Finland

www.ecorner.com.au in Australia

www.dominios.pt in Portugal

All further information about stayopen can be found on our website.

Offer Click & collect/pickup in the shop

In addition to the delivery of goods to your home, Click & collect is also becoming increasingly popular. Customers order products online and pick them up from their local dealer. This is convenient for customers and retailers don’t have to send parcels. Queues in the shop and contact with other people are avoided. Customers also benefit from the fact that they often can pick up the goods on the same day and no shipping costs are incurred. Click & collect can be set up in your shop in just a few steps. Instructions for users of the shop software ePages Now can be found here.

What’s most important: Don’t forget to inform your customers about the services offered – for example in the shop header or with posters in the shop window.

Have products delivered to your customers’ homes

One of the most important rules in the Corona time is to always keep sufficient distance to other people. That’s why many shipping service providers now offer contactless delivery, for example by having the courier leave the package at the customer’s door. Sometimes it’s already possible that customers no longer have to confirm receipt of the delivery in writing but that the messenger takes a photo of the parcel in front of the customer’s door.

While the delivery of goods has almost always been handled by service providers such as DHL and DPD up to now, many brick-and-mortar-retailers deliver to customers in the neighborhood themselves during Corona times. Here too, contact between the messenger and the recipient can easily be avoided.

How to reach customers in your city with little effort

Search engine optimization (SEO) usually plays an important role for online shops. Through various measures, merchants can ensure that their shop achieves a high ranking in search engines such as Google and thus attracts more visitors. SEO is currently not so relevant for brick-and-mortar-merchants because it may take longer for these measures to take effect. Instead, it is much more important to reach the inhabitants of your city or neighborhood today and show them that you are still there for them.

A practical means of doing this is by using QR codes which can be scanned by the user with a smartphone. Using such codes, you can direct customers to your shop without them having to laboriously enter the address. You can create the codes, for example, using the free QR code generator, print them out and hang them in your shop window. If you wish, you can also offer additional QR codes – for example for certain products in your shop or for further information on delivery.

Even if search engine optimization should not be your top priority, there is one Google service of vital importance: Google My Business. When customers enter the name of your business on Google (or search terms such as “bookstore near me”), it allows them to find your company profile on Google. If you haven’t yet created one, or haven’t claimed an existing listing, now is the time to do so. In addition to the most important data, such as your address or telephone number, you should also enter a link to your online shop in Google My Business, point out services such as Click & collect and enter your current opening hours. All information about Google My Business can be found on the Google website.

Finally, a very easy to implement tip: inform your customers about all the new products with posters in the shop window. Here you should especially provide this information:

  • – The address of your online shop
  • – Services offered (e.g. click & collect and shipping)
  • – Opening hours, during which products can be collected from your store
  • – Further contact possibilities (telephone, email, social media etc.)

If customers can pick up products from your store, it is advisable to additionally specify the rules for this – for example, “Always keep a distance of 2 metres from customers in the queue” or “Please have counted cash ready.”

We wish you every success with our tips and hope that you see the challenges of the Corona era as an opportunity to drive your business forward.

But the most important thing is: Stay healthy!