When you’re a small local business, competing with big box stores can feel like an impossible task. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to succeed in business where the large retailers fail.
A personal approach will inspire loyalty and build a lasting relationship with your customers. Focus on providing outstanding service and experience for your customers that they couldn’t get anywhere else. By creating a personal relationship, your customers will balk at the idea of spending any money at the big box retailers. They will support you, and likely encourage their friends to do the same.
Big box retailers generally have too many staff members and too many customers for anyone to form a meaningful relationship. Use this to your advantage and show off the human side of your company. Greet every customer like an old friend. Tell first-person stories about yourself and your business. Listen to your customers and show them that you genuinely care about them.
If you have a small team, don’t forget to highlight them too. Present staff picks on the shop floor or run a customer-voted employee of the month program. Another option is to include photos of the team on the wall, along with their names and an interesting personal fact or two. If a customer builds a relationship with your entire staff, they’ll have even more reason to come to you.
It’s important to communicate regularly with your customers, and it’s easier than you think. You can keep in touch through an email newsletter, social media, loyalty program, or even at in-person events. By sharing local news and entertainment to become a go-to local resource, and send regular discounts, offers, and rewards, you can keep your community engaged, stay top of mind and always have them coming back.
Keep your brand at the front of potential customers’ minds by supporting and engaging with the local community. There are several ways you can do this:
Host events and other special in-store experiences.
These events could be related to your business, such as product demonstrations or workshops, or it could be something entirely different. Networking events, movie or game nights, or free parties all give your customers an opportunity to interact with your business and team, as well as giving them an extra incentive to visit your store.
Form partnerships with other local businesses.
You can offer referrals or discounts, or even host events together.
Sponsor local events, sports teams, or charities.
Anything that cements you as an integral part of the community will help customers recognize your brand and encourage them to support you. Take every opportunity to show your face and interact with your customers. For example, if you sponsor a local sports team, make an effort to go to every game and show your support!
Local SEO can be a powerful tool. Search engines cater to local businesses in the searcher’s location, giving small businesses another advantage over big-box retailers. The tips below will help you make sure you have a solid SEO strategy in place to take advantage of this opportunity.