Shop-Domain - the new and big opportunity

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On the first day of public availability this past fall, more than 50,000 Shop-Domains were sold, making this new global top-level domain (gTLD) one of the most successful new offerings of the past few years.

Beyond solving the obvious problems around a lack of existing .com and even .net domain names, especially ones that align with business names and product offerings, the Shop-Domain gives merchants the ability to implement their brand and bolster their online presence in ways they may never even have thought of before.

Here are several ways to thoughtfully and strategically implement a new Shop-Domain for your business:

Lucky enough to snag a Shop-Domain that corresponds directly to your store name or product offering? It’s worth considering replacing your existing domain, especially if it’s long, contains dashes or is difficult to spell or remember. We recommend creating a strategic transition plan to implement this change so that it will feel seamless to existing customers. Simply start re-directing your existing domain to your new online front page, while updating and transitioning your paid programs. Organic will, over time take care of itself. Just make sure to retain your existing domain and use an automatic re-direct to ensure you don’t lose any traffic in the transition.

Like the domain you’ve had for years and don’t want to move your online presence? That’s fine too. But be sure to check the availability of Shop-Domain for your existing domain and brand name. If one or more are available, you should take them to ensure no one else tries to utilize your hard-earned brand name recognition to build traffic and incoming leads for their competing store. In securing one or more Shop-Domain domains, you can simply setup automatic re-directs to capture this traffic as well.

Utilize a Shop-Domain domain to boost your existing or new customer loyalty and affinity programs. As an additional recognition of your special customers, you can create and/or move your loyalty and affinity programs to a dedicated Shop-Domain and present special offers and opportunities. Thanks to today’s easy-to-use technologies, it is simple to have the same overall look and feel on this site and integrate it with your holistic online presence through navigation menus and more. Think this type of program isn’t important? Loyalty programs are a priority to retailers, large and small. In fact, 62 percent of retailers boosted their loyalty program budgets in 2015, and 46 percent considered these programs a important priority to their businesses.

If you’ve already locked up your related Shop-Domain domain(s), you may want to consider using one or more of these domains to create unique landing pages for paid programs or specially-branded programs, such as a yearly blow-out sale, holiday promotions and more. Think of your new Shop-Domain domain as a shortcut concept for branding and memorability among your target customers to create recognition and word-of-mouth social media buzz.

Perhaps you’re struggling to utilize QR codes in-store or on physical media such as promotional flyers and mailers. Utilizing a new Shop-Domain can enable you to ditch these difficult-to-use QR codes which require your target customers to download readers, snap pictures and more, just to be directed to your site or a custom landing page. Now more than ever, QR codes are a losing proposition, with only 21 percent of US consumers saying they had scanned one. Instead, utilize a simple, short, smartly branded Shop-Domain to connect with consumers in physical media from outdoor billboards to pass-along flyers and adverts.

Shop-Domain provides another powerful program for retailers that either have strong location-based affinity or employ sustained regional/local marketing for a chain of physical locations and stores. Now they can utilize unique Shop-Domains for geographic-based marketing, such as FlowerWarehouse-West.Shop or BigTies-Austin.Shop. It’s almost impossible to operate from one, generic site and effectively serve different constituencies across the country. By utilizing several distinctly geographically-branded Shop-Domains, you can direct customers to the targeted offers, merchandise and store locations with a simple URL.

Think about utilizing a new Shop-Domain to directly engage customers instead of paying for expensive social media boosting, especially since many of the newest platforms don’t share metrics and data insights with companies hosting free profiles. The more you rely on these channels for what seems like free traffic, the more dependent you become when they begin to limit your reach, even to those customers who have expressed an opt-in interest in following your brand and posts. Instead consider hosting your blog posts, photos and other information on a custom-branded Shop-Domain site and promote this site to your customers, driving them to your platform. Savvy marketers are beginning to utilize standalone, branded sites in this way, as 83 percent believe it’s more effective, and 41 percent have admitted they are reducing their brand’s social media presence.

Hans-Peter Oswald (English) (German)
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