Internet is a painful reality that can
hurt local businesses not being in it
We have reached this new generation where not having an online presence can hurt your whole business.
Online Shops are getting more customs, stealing more and more customers from local shops. This is not a big news, the struggle is real; we, in England, even have #SavetheHighStreet campaign.
So how can YOUR business benefit from an online presence for local custom?
Even if your clientele is not the type to be contacted by email about sales and offers, there are still plenty of benefits for your business being online.
With so many free tools and guides about how to setup a website and how to display your business opening hours, you cannot afford to miss out online opportunities.
We have put together 7 Reasons to be online, why and how.
People look for your Opening Hours & Location
The main motivation for customers to buy from you is to FIND you.
Whatever their need is for looking online, you should be the first name to appear in their local search.
Google My Business is the tool to use to display your shop on the map, the working hours and a quick summary of what you sell.
This information is vital to bring in potential customers, returning customers or tourists.
Tourists love recommendation of the area suggested by Google.
Be sure to be one of those shops showing on the map.
A Quick sum up of what you sell
People might look for something specific when using keywords that identify your business.
They love quick answers and some visuals with them.
If your business shows on top of the page with location and opening hours, a quick picture of your shop and the shelves will bring results.
Add in a quick sum up of your inventory without revealing too much.
You still want them to pop in.
Use some general words like “Seasonal products” or “Special Offers available all year round”.
Or list all the types of products you sell under categories: stationery, tobacco, paper supplies, balloons, lighters, lottery …
Website: Chances of increasing sales
Customers want to know things instantly. This is how the new generation is and we must adapt.
If you don’t have a website that gives people a reason to pop into your shop, you won’t increase your sales at all.
Having a website doesn’t necessarily means selling online.
It can be a single-page website with a description of your shop, a map to pin-point where you are, some pictures of your shop and a contact form.
With all these opportunities to create a website for cheap, no skills required and in one day, it will be a shame to lose sales because you don’t have one.
Ordering online is a painful reality for most of independent shops, so mentioning your shop now and there on the internet is a good way to increase your sales.
But not just for this reason.
A shop that has a website gives a sense of security to the customers too.
They know they can reach back and keep an eye on your business – such as opening hours or busiest time to pop in.
Giving the internet a chance to contact you could benefit your business.
In fact, some wholesalers might have loved to know your shop and offer you some special discounts on products you already sell. Or products of the new trend you should be selling.
A contact form or a quick phone number to ring is the perfect way to get business opportunities.
It’s true, this is hard to stay away from scammers or advertising calls, but if you choose the right method to get contacted, this shouldn’t be a reason that stops you from new opportunities.
Use only emails if calls make you lose time.
You could then reply on your own time and delete irrelevant messages.
Keeping in touch with your customers
Even if you are a convenience shop or a newsagent, there is always a reason to keep in touch with your customers.
It could be a simple banner on your website that gets updated about special sales, announcing new products in stock – like a magazine – that no other nearby competitors sell, or about seasonal clearance.
The aim of keeping in touch with your customers is to show how active your shop is and that you still exist.
It doesn’t have to be a communication every day.
Once a week, communicate about a product or service that reminds your customers you still exist.
Sharing offers to increase local custom
Once again, having your business name displayed on google search is vital to increase sales.
But better yet, local custom. Customers don’t need to live far away to increase your sales.
Some residents might have never heard of your shop and yet, they might find what they are looking for.
The best way to attract them is to share offers you currently run.
Use Google My Business to spread the word. This step is vital for your business regardless of what you sell.
You can update your summary anytime and add pictures too.
Use this free tool as often as you can, it will only benefit your business.
Using Free Tools to your advantage
If you’ve heard of Social Media, chances are your customers too.
If you think Social Media is only good for personal uses and online shops advertising, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The reality of Social Media is – not only free – but available for everyone for any uses!
As it is free, you should use these tools to your advantage to remind your customers you exist.
The Truth of today’s business system is to be constantly online and talk to people.
Share something you did today at the shop, or a customer’s feedback or a picture of funny moments, or a current sale etc.
Social Media is there to allow you and your business to be reached by everyone.
Even if you think no customers will read or follow you, this is not the whole point of Social Media.
Make your shop known online.
Some accounts might retweet you which could appear back in your customer’s feed.
To Wrap Up
Owning a physical business is now more challenging than ever. Every business is being “killed” by the online competition regardless of how well they do.
For convenience stores and newsagents, it can be challenging to keep your customers coming in while offering them what they can buy online cheaper. Offering reduced product is a solution but nowadays people need more.
The best bet to increase your chance of sales is to use the online free tools to your advantage. Set your business up on Google My Business and use 2 or more social media accounts. Give it time and see the results.