For the last two decades, the online space was regarded as the place for new businesses to establish themselves and become successful.
The media was full of reports of teen millionaires who were running multi-million-dollar web-based enterprises from their bedrooms. The internet was the new frontier of the business world.
Businesses that were established names on the high street soon discovered the power of online marketing and followed suit.
If a business did not exist on-line it was regarded as hardly existing at all. In contrast, the high street began to suffer. Many local businesses closed down as trade shifted on-line.
Increasingly, customers chose to do their purchasing at times that suited them and from the comfort of their own homes.
For example, UK online retail sales reached £133bn in 2016. This was an increase of £18bn on the previous year. Purchases made from mobile devices soared and purchases made in shops in the high street fell.
As an online marketer, this is not necessarily good news for you. It means that the on-line retail space is becoming very crowded and therefore highly competitive.
It is dominated by a few highly successful and very large companies with access to millions of dollars of marketing expertise. It can be very hard for small businesses to make their mark.
Being different will get you noticed
To make your business successful you need to stand out from the crowd and this requires you to be both innovative and nimble.
Small businesses have one advantage over the larger corporations. They are able to spot gaps and identify trends in the market and act quickly.
Larger companies are often bogged down in policies and procedures and take a while to react to market trends. Take advantage of this and keep an eye on the latest ideas and innovations.
Make your brand different. Create a culture and ethos that has not been seen before and that can attract a dedicated and loyal client base. Repeat customers are what makes a business most successful.
Opening a bricks and mortar store
This is a concept that is already being investigated by large companies like Amazon with their flagship bricks and mortar store Seattle’s University Village.
The important point is that your store is not in competition with your online business. The aim is that you store will drive customers to your on-line business and that it will work the other way around as well.
Using this unique setup, you can select an seo company that has the skills to help a small business get noticed online.
With a clever mix of internet marketing services, you can compete effectively with the larger companies. An online store can be an asset to your seo marketing.
Do not view the two things as separate, they are complementary aspects of your business.
Setting up your bricks and mortar store
You can get a lot of personal satisfaction from establishing a physical store. It provides something tangible that you can see, feel and be proud of.
It gives you somewhere to provide a complete shopping experience for your clients and demonstrate your commitment to customer care.
In a store, you can control the sound, odour and visual impact of your enterprise that is not possible with online selling.
This type of experience sticks in the mind of your customers. The culture and ethos of your brand are very obvious and easier to portray in a physical store.
Cash flow is an issue for most small businesses and launching a large high street store is not usually possible. However, it is within your reach to launch a small shop. Perhaps a base in a less popular area of town is possible?
Renting will require less capital outlay and there may be grants and loans available to help you get started.
If you already operate an online retail business you will already have stock available so this will not be an additional capital outlay for you.
All you have to do is display it in a way that suits your brand and culture. You could also follow the Bonobos model of marketing.
This clever approach uses the bricks and mortar store as a ‘sample’ shop. It is somewhere where customers can try out products before ordering online for delivery at home.
A seamless service between your high street and online presence will impress customers and make them return again and again.