Can local businesses thrive in the new economy? The resounding answer is yes.
May 19, 2010 -- Blog post. The new economy of today presents a great opportunity for local businesses to not only succeed, but expand their customer base. You might wonder, How can I compete with large stores and internet retailers prices? Well, in actuality the bargains the large chain stores and internet offer are hardly the deals they seem to be. At the end of the day, the savings are quite minimal and the customer doesn't receive the service, advice, or personal touch offered by local businesses.
In today's market, customers are seeking quality products for their money. They're choosing how they spend their money with more caution and rely on more information when it comes to purchasing products. It's not about getting lots of items cheaply, it's about customers getting products they want, they need, and that will last. Local businesses can easily tap into this customer mindset by providing quality service and specialized products. As a local business, you offer two things that larger stores do not: quality service and convenience.
1-Be helpful and give advice.
People will always pay a little more for better service if they know you and feel they can trust you and your products. Don't ever be hesitant to give advice because you fear those potential customers will take your advice and then go buy it on the internet or at a bigger store. Sure, some may, but for most people, the sense of trust and interaction will prove beneficial in the long run and next time they could buy from you if your advice holds up. Providing help and advice is the key to building customer-owner relationships.
2-Go the extra mile for your customers.
Making a customer's experience run smoothly will ensure will become a repeat customer and pass the word on to their friends. As a local business, you enjoy the benefit of being geographically close to many of your customers. People value their time, so if there's a product a customer needs to be ordered, or they call and ask if you have this product, offer to deliver it for a small fee. Let them know about events related to your products in your neighborhood, county, or region as it applies.
1-Be readily available for your customers.
How many times have you called a big store or shown up and the person there didn't know how to help you? Local businesses can be reached by phone and e-mail-answering specific questions about products. By keeping your online presence up-to-date, you can increase contact with your community and customer base: update your online calendar of events, announce new products, and be open to providing advice for your community makes you stand out.
2-Let the big businesses in your area know you exist.
Big businesses carry a lot of products and sometimes sacrifice specialization in one product for a diversity of many products. Check out your local larger competitors, see what it is they do and don't carry, and let the person working there know you about your store. Perhaps when a customer comes in to their store and can't find what it is they need, the person working there will suggest your store as an alternative. You offer a specific product and service to the community, so let everyone know you're part of it!
3-Interact with your community.
Trying hosting events or showing up at local activities that are related to the products you offer. By hosting events in the evenings or on weekends based on products, skill sets, or holidays, you will engage and interact with your core customer base. This not only allows you to get to provide your own kind of outstanding service, but it also allows you to get feedback from your customer base and stay competitive. Events are also easy to advertise with social media and can easily be forwarded, which is why maintaining your online presence is crucial.
The past few years have taught us to be creative with both our money and our businesses and fortunately the online world has made customer-business interaction increasingly easier. By interacting with your customer base online, at your store, and in the community, your reputation will spread and your store will thrive in any economy.