Why Specialized Domain Names Could Be Your Secret Weapon for Boosting Sales
Retailers were skeptical about whether the internet had sticking power in its early days. Sales meant brick-and-mortar stores, print advertisements and TV spots for those with the cash.
The birth of e-commerce threw that world into turmoil. Today’s omnichannel retailers need a universal call to action that embraces every customer touchpoint. A meaningful, memorable domain name offers the perfect solution.
The Rise of the Domain Name
Consumers understand web addresses. In digital advertising, they serve as handy direct links to sales landing pages, and they work in the analog world, too, from TV and radio to billboards and taxi-top ads.
With nearly 1,000 new domain name extensions introduced over the past two years, the domain name has never been more effective as a call to action. How can retailers benefit from this development? Here are five ways to get started:
1. Boost loyalty and affinity programs. Loyalty programs are big business. Sixty-two percent of retailers boosted their loyalty program budgets in 2015, and 46 percent considered those programs a top priority. A relevant domain name (e.g., yourbrand.club) provides a logical shortcut to boost traffic to your loyalty club, and it doesn’t require a new web page, either. See Swatch.club as an example of a logical shortcut and a marketable URL leading to a deep link within the main website.
2. Create multiple landing points. The same domain-as-a-shortcut concept can apply to special offers, sales, events and product reviews. Access Fashion Media created a buzz at Paris Fashion Week with its new parisfashionweek.buzz domain, illustrating how extensions like .win, .sale, .events and .reviews offer numerous retail options for driving engagement and sales.
3. Ditch clunky QR codes. Many retailers love QR codes, but do consumers? Only 21 percent of American consumers said they had scanned a QR code, and just 2 percent did so daily. Many consumers don’t even have the right app to scan them, and people are always unsure where those little black-and-white squares will take them.
A short, memorable domain name is far more effective. Consumers don’t need a special app, and the right domain name tells them exactly what they’re getting. If it’s memorable, consumers can access it whenever they want; they don’t need to be eight inches in front of it or worry about the code moving away on a bus.
4. Use geo-based domains for locations. Retailers operating across a host of locations don’t have to operate one generic site. For example, some products might be country-exclusive. Geo-based domain names offer a great way to differentiate web traffic.
Global fashion giant Inditex stepped up its online business in Asia in 2015 and saw sales hit $10.6 billion. To direct that increased traffic effectively, Inditex launched its own .asia page for Zara, one of its leading brands. Even companies that only operate in the U.S. can benefit from geo-based domains by choosing city names to differentiate outlets, with .NYC, .Miami and .Boston all available options.
5. Cut the social media addiction. Social media is great, but the major platforms won’t give up data and insights on their users to help brands boost their marketing efforts. Furthermore, why train your community to visit a third-party site when they can get to the same site via a branded or personalized domain that you control?
Smart marketing managers are turning to branded domain names instead of social media, with 83 percent believing it’s more effective than third-party engagement, and 41 percent admitting they’re reducing their brand's social media presence.
The explosion of new domain name options has opened up enormous opportunities for businesses. Just as the internet shook up retail, this internet upgrade can help boost brand recognition and sales across all platforms.
Jeff Sass is the chief marketing officer of .CLUB Domains, operator of the new top-level domain .CLUB, which is ideal for clubs, associations, teams, loyalty programs, fan clubs and anyone with a passion for a memorable, descriptive domain name.