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How Local Businesses Can Win Over Online Stores

June 6, 2011

Brick-and-mortar stores are under siege with so many online retail stores proliferating in the web. There are a number of reasons for why consumers choose to buy online rather than from their community grocery store or department store. For starters, one does not have to step out of the house just to purchase an item, like shoes or sports supplies. Just one click of the mouse does it all. So how can a local business win over an online shopper given how convenient it is to purchase from the internet? Let me count the ways.

1. Loyalty Programs

It is very easy for small businesses to get new customers by offering loyalty programs. Why? It’s because discounts and freebies easily trump convenience. So what if one can order a new sundress while wearing PJs? If running to the store gives that same consumer a 10% discount, then customers will pick brick-and-mortar stores instead.



There are two buying behaviors that are influenced with the help of loyalty programs including spending more money on purchases and shopping more often. Card-based frequent-buyer programs will help businesses retain new customers and keep old customers coming back. This system rewards customers after six or so purchases by receiving a discount. And because customers do not want to waste that, most if not all return.

2. Expand Your Inventory

One advantage that consumers find with online shopping is the fact that they can find even the rarest piece of china without having to go through the tiresome task of going from one store to another. So how are brick-and-mortar businesses able to combat this? Some stores have already expanded their inventory so that customers are sure to find what they are looking for in just one stop. Even in dismal times, these shops have managed to stay afloat because consumers know that when they need something, they are sure to find it there.

3. Talk to Your Customers

This is probably one thing that online businesses cannot do with customers. Because brick-and-mortar businesses have the ability to engage with their customers, then they should definitely take advantage of this. Some liquor stores greet customers with a cup of coffee which gives its staff the opportunity to talk to consumers. This conversation often allows the staff to know about the customer’s needs and any other recommendations. This kind of interaction is something which consumers will never find in any online store.

Chris Marentis writes from experience about lead generation, closing the sale and leveraging social media. He is the founder and CEO for a local internet marketing company Surefire Social, a resource for local search marketing

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