Online retail has established a permanent presence nowadays, putting pressure on businesses that rely on offline sales. However, the threat posed to brick-and-mortar stores isn’t as severe as speculation may imply. Small businesses and retailers can continue to attract customers and make sales in the age of the Internet. If you feel daunted by the prospect, though, here are some fundamentals to consider.
Building a Niche
As with any business, standing out is key, and a good way to do that is to offer something that customers won’t find elsewhere. This includes unique goods or services, outstanding attention to quality, devotion to customer satisfaction, etc. For local businesses, establishing a community presence is often key—hiring locally, treating loyal customers and giving back to the community are good ways to do this. One niche often filled by local stores rather than online retailers is the sale of handmade or customized products. Additionally, interacting with employees, e.g. asking questions, is seen as easier to do in-person for many.
Stylizing Your Storefront
Marketing is still a concern for brick-and-mortar stores, but there are some unique avenues present for doing so. One of these is the use of the storefront itself to grab attention, both by building an aesthetic and using the storefront to convey information.
- Use creative signage, such as a metal sign from local welding Salem OR
- Change window displays on a regular basis, showing off new or popular products and sales.
- Keep the storefront clean and make the building easily accessible.
- Add some color with a fresh coat of paint or some greenery.
- Set up a sandwich board to display your brand and info that appeals to customers.
Don’t Neglect Technology
Having a physical storefront doesn’t mean never touching a computer. Some businesses adopt a “click and mortar” model by maintaining a website as well, giving customers the opportunity to shop how they prefer. Others may not build a dedicated website but might still make use of social media for promotions and word-of-mouth advertising. Another possibility is to combine this model with a customer loyalty program, allowing customers to sign up for a digital newsletter to receive special deals.