Are you worried your local retail business can’t compete with online e-commerce businesses? While e-commerce isn’t going anywhere, brick-and-mortar retail is far from dead. Smart retailers will accept that each type of selling has its pros and cons, and each can benefit them in different ways.
A new study from Netsertive has some interesting insights into where retail is going and how businesses can stay competitive. For example, almost half of consumers always turn to a local store when they need a product within 2 or 3 days, according to the 2018 Consumer Shopping Trends Survey.
How to Compete With Online Sellers
Here are 3 very simple ways your retail business can compete with online sellers.
1–Cover all your bases. Although 43% of consumers always visit local stores when they need products in a hurry, 29.1% turn to Amazon, and 27.8% use both Amazon and local retailers. And while 60% of respondents say they have shopped at a smaller local store in the past six months, 30% say they only shop online. Selling products online as well as in your physical store can offer you a way to enjoy the best of both worlds.
To do this, you can add e-commerce shopping cart functionality to your existing website. (Check out this list of 45 standalone shopping cart software products for retailers.) Once your e-commerce arm is up and running, consider offering a “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) option. Shoppers who want an item immediately, but don’t want to run all over town looking for it, love this service.
You can also sell products online on Amazon or other online marketplace. This gives you the ability to reach online shoppers without the need to set up your own e-commerce website.
2–Get found online. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for your retail store to be listed in Google My Business. Google is the number-one way consumers research local businesses—some 68% of respondents in the survey say they use it to find a local business online. If you’re not there, you’re not going to be on their radar. Your listing is free, so there’s really no excuse for not taking advantage of it.
Even if they’re not specifically seeking a local store, 79.2% of consumers in the survey say they research online first before making a big purchase. Power up your local search directory listings by adding paid search advertising to the mix. (Try creating special offers: Promotions are somewhat or very influential for 77.8% of retail shoppers.) Then enhance your retail website with organic search engine optimization to help it show up in search results. Don’t forget to make sure your site is mobile- friendly so it doesn’t slow shoppers down.
Who knows? A shopper who was planning on heading to a big box store to make a purchase might pick your store instead if it’s just as close and offers a faster, easier shopping experience.
3–Simplify shopping. Consumers expect convenience whether they’re shopping online or in-store. In a physical store, curating the products you sell to a carefully chosen selection is one way to help shoppers get in and out of your store quickly. (You could offer a wider range of products on your business website.)
Your store should also accept a wide range of payment options, including mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, and mobile devices to accept payments so you can speed up customer checkout lines. (Here are some popular credit card readers for retail businesses to investigate.)
By taking these three steps, you’ll be able to compete with online sellers and help prepare your retail store for a successful future.