How can you as a localized small business owner, combat the growing online purchase market? Opening your own online store should be an option for you to consider. Providing the ability for your customers to shop online and either pick up directly from you or have it delivered locally will earn you more of your local market.
So, why should you take your business online?
It’s not that hard
There are an amazing number of tools already developed for you to use to build your online store. Shopify, Big Commerce, Weebly, and Square are just a few of the companies that have pre-built packages to help you get started.
From page development to tools for handling the financial side, the pieces, and parts are all there for you to choose. If you relax and know it doesn’t have to be perfect, you’ll get really far, really fast!
Get outta your neighborhood
If you have a business selling baseball cards in Tupelo, Mississippi, you are only going to get customers that walk in if you don’t advertise. If you advertise, depending on the method, now you start to reach your whole city.
When you go online with a store, you immediately make your collection available to billions, yes, billions, of people. If you market your store well online and increase the possibility of being viewed, the odds of someone finding what you are selling increase dramatically. Even the step from Ebay or targeted sites to your own store will help you immensely. Giving a future customer somewhere to land off of Ebay increases your opportunities for more sales.
If you have a brick and mortar business, you are carrying inventory. That inventory is only being viewed during your normal business hours. Opening an online store is like opening your doors 24/7. You just don’t have to be there to make the sale. You can carry product in your online store that you do not have in inventory, and you can get delivery from your vendors. You can choose to deliver or have products delivered for you. You can offer the opportunity for customization of an off the shelf product.
It is really up to you and the extent of your creativity in using your online store.
It is cost effective
While your doors are closed at your brick and mortar location, your cloud-based server is whirring away at no physical cost to you. What we mean by that is you don’t have extra employees standing behind a counter, you are not heating additional space, and you are automating your 24/7 order taking, so you are free to pursue other priorities.
Even better customer service
How you tie together your online store with your brick and mortar operation is built on your level of customer service. The key features you will be offering are how you deal with returns, how you customize orders, and how you educate. Handling the return process, packaging, shipping, etc. are amazingly powerful benefits.
If your customer just drops it off, picks up a new one and goes, they will be back. What you add to their product through your ability to customize packaging or the product itself helps them to make it special. Education on the many facets of your product will give them peace in using, installing, or giving whatever it is they are buying.
You don’t have to be as big as Amazon to be a successful online marketer, you just have to be online.