There are lots of articles helping online businesses succeed. How about the local business? Where search engines are catering to these virtual sites, it can often be difficult for a local business to gain clout via online search engines. In order to stay relevant, small local businesses are forced to keep up with the online community even though their business is not virtual. Here are ways to stay relevant in an online world.
Treat your website the same way you treat your brick-and-mortar.
With everything going virtual, the initial place a consumer will visit is via online. This is why it is important to invest just as much effort into your website as you do your actual store. If the online experience of your store is not up to par, chances are, they will NOT visit you locally. While it is difficult to wrap your head around it, a website is the first impression of what you have to offer. Consider it like those individuals you see on the street corner dangling signs for advertisement. It will attract traffic your way so that those sales go up.
Always provide the newest information on your website.
With coming to terms that a website is crucial to your local business, you have to accept the work and consistency that comes along with it. Be sure to have all information up to date on your website.This will avoid tons of heartache. Customers will not be happy when they are quoted a sale price online, only to discover that the items are actually full cost in your store.
Post ALL information online.
Some stores go to the other extreme and have issues with posting their prices online. What if their competitor tries to undercut on price to gain their customer base? While this is a legit fear, customers will NOT be satisfied and won’t accept this logic. As a matter of fact, if a customer can’t find prices, they will bypass your services and find another business that can provide them cost and deals online.
Don’t devalue the online experience. Provide a full featured store.
It is a known fact that customers will review prices and products online before even considering visiting a store in person. If they lack the full experience of what is offered at your store, along with pricing and the option to buy, they will not continue with your business. While previously mentioned that a website should be looked upon as one of “those guys” that wave a sign around to generate traffic, it is NOT the end all/be all. A customer today wants to be well informed before making their purchase. Chances are, once they have completed their research online, they will want to visit you locally to see first hand the value of your products. But first, you have to give them a reason for them to come in.
Once you realize that window shopping is currently done on a computer screen, it will be easier to accept the online e-commerce route. The internet is taking over, whether we like it or not. We can embrace it to enhance our current businesses, or we can reject it and be left in the dust of our online competitors.