If you own a small business, especially a retail business – the seemingly unending domination of Amazon and the other massive retailers might look like a death blow for businesses like yours on the main streets of towns everywhere – but it doesn’t have to be.
Amazon (and the rest) might be able to compete with you on price, but that’s all they’ve got. While there is no way you can win the price war, you can save your business and the future prospect of selling that business for a financial return by redefining what you are.
You aren’t a small business owner anymore – you’re a community business owner.
What do we mean by that? There are two very simple ways you can beat back a giant corporation, and these changes are something that this next generation of younger consumers are looking for – buying local and a good customer experience.
The “buy local” movement can set your business apart from those around you if what you are offering is something unique to your area. Try adding products by other local businesses or artisans, coming up with your own local take on something you already offer or joining community shopping programs like farmer’s markets to help advertise your business to those who value spending their money close to home. Buying local can also mean sourcing the products you use or sell from those in your local community – and advertising that fact to potential customers. By teaming up with other businesses in your community and supporting each other within the buy local movement you can give mindful consumers choices they can’t find online.
Creating a good customer service experience might seem like a basic premise of business success, but in the new retail environment this can mean something slightly different. By incorporating local products and services, teaming up with other local businesses and offering your products at community events like markets or festivals you are improving the customer experience because those who buy from you can feel good abut their purchases – because those purchases go right back into the local community. Focusing on community business building can absolutely help your brand and reputation. Other ways you can incorporate this community-building-experience for your customers? Get out there. Help with local charities. Participate in community events. Donate goods or services to local schools. Do all the things a giant like Amazon wouldn’t know to do because they don’t live in your community.
Making these changes now also has an added bonus of making your business very appealing to the next generation of small business owners looking to buy their way into entrepreneurship. A business with very strong community ties will look far better to a buyer than one locked in a futile price war with corporate giants.
The ever-evolving nature of the retail space shouldn’t scare you, but it should motivate you to change with the times. Turn your small business into a community business and then make sure your use every marketing tool available (events, social media, a blog, etc.) to let your buy-local customers know about the changes you’ve made. We can stick it to Amazon yet.
Do you own a small retail business and want to know more about how becoming a community business might help you build your brand and get you a great return on your investment if you sell? Please leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.
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