The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

Local small business retail advice: locals are not buying from me, what should I do?


Local means different things in different situations. It could be products made in your town, your state or territory, or in your country. What is local will vary depending on what you sell.

If you are certain locals are buying elsewhere instead of from you, find out why, as this is key to what you do to turn the situation around.

Before we get into the why and what you could consider doing about it, think about how local your business is and why you think locals should support you. Gaining local support starts with you supporting locals.

If you buy products from makers who live locally and shop in town, talk about that and how grateful you are to have their products. Create a small sign to place next to their products. Include their photo. This personal touch helps shoppers to understand who else benefits from their purchase.

If you source products from within your state or country that nearby competitors and online businesses source from overseas, talk about how pleased you are to find local suppliers, how that makes you feel, and what it means in terms of the products.

Look at every product or service you use in your business. Talk about each one that is locally sourced; show that it is locally sourced. Consider local alternatives for those sourced from overseas.

Look at your engagement with local community groups and clubs and with the local community as a whole. Is it as good as it could be? Is it consistent? Is there a place in the shop where your local community group support is shown?

Does your business attract people to the area? If there are things you could do to attract people, do them and get known for doing them. Get locals pleased that you are bringing more people into the area.

The more you walk the local walk, the more you can talk the local talk.

Stop telling people to shop locally. Show them. Think about what you source locally for your business and discuss it on social media and in your shop. This is an excellent way to demonstrate being local.

Getting local shoppers shopping locally really does start with you and how locally focused your own decisions are.

Educate shoppers to be inquisitive about identifying local products. Show them how to read a label to see if a product is locally made. Sometimes, people need to be shown how to shop locally.

Now, let’s consider why locals may not be supporting you.

If shoppers prefer online shopping, it could be price or convenience. If shoppers prefer a big competitor, it could be range or price. If shoppers prefer shopping in the next town, it could be price, range and/or convenience.

Addressing price, convenience and range can feel challenging in local small business retail. Let’s have a crack at it.

Price comes down to value. If you sell products that benefit from knowledge you can share that nearby or online competitors cannot or do not share, that’s your competing price. Demonstrate your value at every opportunity and hope that your shoppers will talk to others about it.

Convenience could be parking out the front, your opening hours, nearby shops and/or whether your business is online. If you’re not online, get online; that is an easy step to address. Other convenience factors rely on local amenities and fellow local retailers.

If range is the reason that locals tend to shop elsewhere, your pitch comes back to the value proposition. It may be that you have the best, most useful, longest-lasting products, and that’s why your smaller range is beneficial to locals.

Our point here is that if you are unhappy about support from local shoppers, your decisions and the narrative you pitch in and around your business are key factors.

You need to help locals understand why shopping locally with you is good for them.

By Mark
The POS Software Blog




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