Our small business POS software company often provides general business advice to retailers, beyond our POS software specific advice. Here is one example – about competing with onlone.
Competing with online begins with your headspace, it begins with committing to getting the business right and relentlessly pursuing its success.
In practical terms, this means that every business decision is based on careful consideration of sound data. If the data does not support a business decision, you don’t do it. Simple.
Five ways you can compete with online
Here are five ways you can differentiate your business from online, ways that leverage personal, human, contact.
- Track every contact.Treat every contact as a customer. Know who they are. Explain that it’s part of your service – to offer advice and keep in touch. This will qualify them as a customer from their very first question. While it may scare some off, better that you do it early before you give away your expert advice.
- Give them a gift for listening to you.Every customer who spends time taking in your advice should be given a voucher for them to spend in-store in a purchase above a certain value. This shows that you value their attention. Presented well it can better connect them with you for the longer term.
- Subtly share stories about the risks of online shopping.There are documented stories you can find about people being ripped off – what they ordered is not what they received, credit card fraud and the like. Arm your team with these stories … maybe a story about a customer who bought from you following an expensive rip off online.
- Reward loyalty with a front-end approach.Ensure that every purchase over, say, $10, comes with a voucher offering a discount off the next purchase. Factor this into your mark-up model. Cash rewards showing on a receipt can be a powerful lure to bringing a shopper back.
- Personalise your service.Arm all sales staff with personal business cards. Place follow up calls or emails to shoppers spending over, say, $100. Host networking events in-store. Connect with and support local clubs. Add value through personal contact at every possible opportunity. Structure regular, value-adding, contact with your customer base.
The difference between a bricks and mortar shops and a website selling similar products is that your business, the bricks and mortar business, is real, it can be visited, it’s personal. Everything you say and do needs to reinforce this and build trust based on this.