It’s already happening; a millennial hears about something he wants. He immediately pulls out his smartphone, taps on the Amazon App, buys it, and has it delivered to his house by the end of the week.
For small business owners, this scenario is what keeps them up at night. Waking up bright and early, pulling up the store shutters and flipping the sign on the door to “Open” is a tradition to small business owners, signaling a new day and a steady flow of business. What happens, though, when all the loyal customers you’ve had for the past 30 years begin shopping online? Or even worse, they head over to the nearest Walmart or Target for all their shopping needs?
Here are 3 ways you can keep your small business relevant, even in today’s market:
Offer a Service, Not Just a Product
One way to prove your worth to your neighbourhood is to offer something of value that the big retail stores cannot. For example, if you own a small hardware store, offer DIY workshops and tutorials. This will make your store personable and give the community a reason to visit. Once they’ve seen what you have to offer, your store will prove invaluable to all the DIYers in your area. Think of a service that your local Home Depot, Walmart, or even Starbucks can’t offer and get people involved in what your business has to share.
Appeal to the Community
Every neighbourhood has its own ambiance and style. Some are more professional; some relaxed. Some communities come alive at night; others shut down for the day. Your job as a small business owner is to learn your demographic and cater to their needs and wants. Maybe your restaurant needs to offer a delivery service, a happy hour, or simply be open later into the night. If you own a café or bar, try hosting local musicians to perform. Most importantly, learn about the people walking past your store and figure out what it is they’ll need to be inclined to come in. Many storefronts pay based on the foot-traffic. Leverage that.
Focus on Your Customer Service
Big retail stores are notorious for having horrible customer service. Whether you need some professional advice from a teenager in an aisle at Home Depot, or just like to see your name spelled correctly on your coffee cup, your small business allows you to pay attention to your clientele. Many people will pay a little more for a more personalized, friendly experience. Even though you may not be able to compete with Walmart’s prices, you can offer something bigger: satisfaction. As well, make sure you hire dedicated, friendly staff members who will greet your customers with smiles and make them feel special.