3 Ways That Local Retail Stores Can Compete with Online Shopping

By | March 26, 2014

Unlike the business owner pictured here, local retail stores can compete with online shopping

I came across a story the other day while reading a copy of the Guelph Tribune. It was the sad story about how a local retailer that has been a virtual centerpiece of the downtown of Guelph, Ontario is closing its doors after 60 years. After years of attempting to compete with Big Box stores and dealing with  months of massive downtown reconstruction, the final nail in the coffin was online shopping. It brought to my mind 3 ways that local retail stores can compete with online shopping.

In this article the business owner made the shocking assertion that, "Now you can get anything that I sell online."

What can you do if you're a local business in the same situation? How can you compete against Big Box stores and online shopping websites alike and not be forced to close your doors?

Check out the video below for 3 things you can start doing today to protect your business from suffering the same fate. I also mention 3 things that you need to stop doing unless you want to go out of business.

My key point from the presentation is that the way people shop has changed forever. The internet is now 20 years old and is no longer a fad - the vast majority of people are no longer scared to buy directly online thanks to sites like Ebay and Amazon.

If you made it this far without losing significant business from online shopping, then you've either already been doing the 3 things that I discuss in the presentation, or you've been living on borrowed time.

You can compare what's going on with online shopping to the invention of the automobile; when cars replaced the horse and buggy you can bet that plenty of "good local businesses" that didn't adapt had to close their doors.

You either adapt and survive or you don't - the choice is yours.

To put it another way, "You can either make excuses or make money - but you can't do both" (something I often hear Joe Polish say on the I Love Marketing Podcast).

Local retailers can compete vs. online shopping if they follow those three steps, it also doesn't hurt to fight fire with fire by incorporating digital marketing into their business promotions.

Do you agree? Disagree? Am I being too harsh? Are you a local business that's been pushed to the brink by Big Box stores and local business? How are you coping in the shifting retail marketplace?

Share your comments below.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lovell/Guelph Tribune (altered).

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