The internet has greatly disrupted the way buying and shopping is conducted. Several years back, when a consumer wants to buy something, they’d have to go to a brick and mortar store and make their purchase there. However, with the advent of online shopping, such is no longer the case. With the continuous improvement of online shopping such as secured online payment system and the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your living room chair, more and more people are becoming engaged with buying online. Does this spell the end for small brick and mortar small retail stores?
Not necessarily so – that is, if they are able to adapt to the changing face of commerce by building an online store.
Many business experts agree that brick and mortar businesses need to have an online presence if their business is to survive the changes. But how exactly can small retailers benefit and increase their sales with an online store?
Sell Products Online
Opening an online store allows small retailers to promote and sell their products to people in their locality, as well as to people in different parts of the country and even internationally. Small retail stores may have a storefront, but are seeing very low foot traffic from the people living near and around them. This can be due to various reasons, including the lack of knowledge or interest in their products. Having an online store where you can post images of your products, reviews, and even customer testimonials can increase sales even if customers don’t set foot on the store.
Promote and Advertise Products and Brands
One of the best things that retailers can get from having an online store is affordable advertisement and promotion. Small retailers can create Facebook Pages for their stores and promote it using Facebook ads. They can post images of their products in Instagram and Pinterest. They can also hire search engine optimisation experts who can help improve their online visibility. Compared to the traditional advertising and marketing methods, advertising online can be relatively cheap and much more effective as it reaches target customers better.
Coupon Give Aways
Giving online coupons is another great way of driving foot traffic to brick and mortar stores of small retailers. Many shoppers, both online and offline, find it difficult to resist the urge and temptation of discounts and offers. Small retailers can create online coupons which shoppers can print and bring to brick and mortar stores to claim the discount or offer. They can even have online coupon codes which shoppers can download in their mobile devices and show the store owner when the redeem the offer.
Provide Customer Service
Shoppers nowadays are smarter, and before they make any purchase, they will most likely try to do some research about it. Small retailers can take advantage of this with an online store. Whenever a consumer asks about the product, small retailers can answer them through their online store, their social media accounts, or even email. This will help to improve the customers’ experience, and motivate them to make the purchase – whether online or by going to the store – either way, it’s a winning situation for the small retailer.
Building Relationships with Customers
Having an online store allows small retailers to build and propagate business relationships with customers. Relationship building is very important, and often times, they can be done effectively online. Answering customer questions and showing them that small retailers care through offers is a great way of acquiring new customers and improving sales.
At this point of the internet age, it is very likely that the essence of brick and mortar stores and online stores are starting to merge. Many people are starting to expect brick and mortar stores to have an online version or online presence as well for several reasons like product research and online purchases. Thus, if small retailers are to stay in the selling game, they need to embrace the need for a virtual counterpart for their brick and mortar stores.