Small business changed forever once the Internet came on the scene in the early 1990s. The inability to stay competitive with such online shopping giants as Amazon.com forced many small businesses with brick and mortar locations to close for good. While some have panicked and assumed this meant the end of mom-and-pop type stores, that simply isn’t true. However, the businesses that remain must adapt to new ways of doing things.
If you’re a small business owner who feels discouraged about trying to compete with big retailers, we hope the tips below will help you. Remember that people still crave the human connection of shopping in person and will go out of their way to find it, despite the convenience of online shopping.
Retailer Tips for Healthy Competition
Price alone doesn’t determine whether a customer will shop with your business. Increasingly, consumers gravitate towards companies that provide them with a positive experience. Here are seven tips to help your retail business do just that:
Don’t Force Customers to Wait in Long Lines
Retail research indicates that the typical customer abandons their cart or purchase in an in-person environment if they must wait longer than eight minutes to check out. Offering in-app payment methods and iPads can help to speed up the process.
Feature Your Best Products Online
With approximately 70 percent of shoppers researching products and companies online before visiting in person, it makes sense to highlight your store’s best products on your company website. This makes it more likely the customer will walk in ready to buy.
Offer Products the Big Retailers Don’t Carry
Due to mass production, big-box retailers often neglect to invest in smaller niche products. This is one area where your small business can really stand out.
Participate in Shop Local Events
Independents Week and Small Business Saturday are two well-known events to highlight the benefits of shopping with an independent retailer. Choosing to participate tells the community you care about them and that you’re proud of your status as a small business.
Offer Special Discounts via Social Media
When a customer tags your location via social media, consider offering him or her an unpublished discount. After all, this person just provided your company with free advertising.
Greet Your Customers by Name
Make it a point to learn the names of your regular customers and use them as often as possible. Many people love to hear their own names and it makes them feel special that you remembered.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
A bad experience with a retailer in the online era means hundreds of people could know about it within minutes. Empower your staff to meet customer needs and then encourage customers with good experiences to share them online.
Although these seven steps might seem simple, it might amaze you what a difference they can make in the success of your business. To discuss additional steps or receive feedback on your current competitive approach, schedule an appointment with one of our small business consultants.