It’s no secret that online retailers have had a major impact on the brick-and-mortar retail world, and this has mostly been bad news for the big, traditional retailers that do most of their business in-store. From a consumer standpoint, why go to the mall, a big-box retailer, or even a grocery store, when you can spend less time and money buying what you need online?
While some of the big-name retailers have adapted to the online shift, the effort, investment, and innovation required mean that many traditional retailers are getting left behind. Bad news for the big names, maybe, but the evolution of retail and eCommerce could spell big opportunity for smaller businesses.
You’re in the Driver’s Seat
One of the great things about owning a small business is the control that you have over how your business evolves. There is simply less internal red tape standing between you and the goals you wish to accomplish, especially if those goals represent significant changes for your business. So while large, traditional retailers struggle to adapt, you have the flexibility to rise to the occasion.
As larger retailers falter, small businesses will find an appealing environment in which to grow, evolve, and adapt. The real estate left behind by large retailers may be an appealing investment for small businesses looking to grow, with lower real estate prices and ample space available. Small businesses will also find opportunities to fill in the gaps by providing services and products that large retailers in the area no longer offer.
Small, local businesses can accommodate customers in ways that are hard to match for large retailers, especially when those retailers are struggling just to survive. It may be offering unique, hand-crafted products that can’t be found anywhere else, using only fresh, local ingredients at your restaurant, or simply offering the sort of consistent, personalized service that can be in short supply with big-name chains. The point is that you can make choices based on what works for your business while meeting the challenges and opportunities of an evolving market head-on.
Why a Digital Component Is a Must for Modern Small Businesses
While small businesses willing to put in the work are in a great position to thrive in the near future, the competition from online mega-retailers has an impact. The days of “Should I have a website?” are over. If you don’t have a digital component of your marketing and retail, then it’s going to be impossible to compete with other similar small businesses in addition to the big names. The good news is that the tools are already there for small businesses to thrive, both online and off. And… it is easier than ever.
Offering customers an online option to purchase your products and learn about your business is crucial to success because the majority of your local audience will still be searching for businesses online. They’re Googling, looking at review websites and talking with their friends on social platforms. So you MUST have an online presence in order to compete. Getting people into your brick-and-mortar business is still an important goal, but you’ll be losing a lot of business if you don’t also offer customers a simple, secure way to shop online. And more importantly, it is truly less about for your local customers and more about adding incredibly valuable profitable revenue that doesn’t add significant overhead to you current operation.
Designing an eCommerce website, handling the logistics of getting your products to your customers, and fine-tuning your online marketing all take work. However, there are skilled, experienced marketing teams in most communities who are up to the task. By optimizing your online presence while still focusing on your local brick-and-mortar audience, you can have the best of both worlds in the modern retail environment. The key, however, is getting up to speed on what’s actually happening in retail, paying attention to WHY it’s happening, and creating a plan for capitalizing on it. That means paying attention to your customers, thinking like a consumer yourself, and thinking outside the traditional retail box. Chances are your online presence will need to be flexible to shift with the changes that are still to come, so stay sharp and stay tuned. Look for those gaps that traditional retailers are leaving and be thinking of ways you can jump in and fill them. Service, Personality, and Flexibility will be key.
RETAIL RELEVANCY is all about SIMPLICITY… Frictionless buying IS the future of Retail. Simplicity is the new EDLP. Make it easy and deliver value and… she will buy from you again, and again, and again.