We’re talking with a Walmart supplier about creating a web presence for his company. He has his product in a few Walmart stores and is expecting to roll out to more stores later this year, so he’s thinking about establishing an online presence.
This is a smart move. Retailers expect manufacturers to partner with them in promoting products, and the internet is a central part of shopping for today’s consumers.
The question for this CPG company is whether they need a website or not. They’re considering relying on social media. Reaching out to bloggers and having a strong Facebook presence, they figure, will be more valuable than having a website.
“Walmart.com can be our website,” they said. Walmart.com certainly has more stature and more traffic than a small new website with one product could.
It’s an interesting point of view, and we’re willing to make the experiment with them. We think they need a website, though. Here’s why:
- Consumers don’t trust companies without websites as much as they do companies with websites. They don’t trust companies with DIY websites, either. A surprisingly large number of consumers report that they have decided not to spend money with a company because of a poor quality website. Consumers expect your company to have a professional website. If you don’t have one, it makes them wonder about you and hesitate to buy your product.
- Your website is where you can control your message. Walmart.com will not let you decide how to present your product. Facebook owns your Facebook page. You own your website. At your website, you can choose the look, the tone, the feel, and the image you present.
- Time is your friend on the internet. A good website becomes more valuable every year, and a well managed website increases traffic and conversions every year. The longer you wait to build your website, the longer it will take you to see those benefits.
We’re up for the experiment, and if it turns out that being on the shelf at Walmart means you don’t need a website, we’ll let you know. But it will certainly be a surprise.