Local B2C businesses need to focus on staying open
Because COVID-19 affects our lives, there is a lot of talk on social media about the Shop Local Movement.
But when the shock is overwhelming, are you really shopping locally, or just shopping at the edges, when you’re on holiday juicy sales, placing an order from Amazon or some big box store in another country?
Are you supporting?
Okay fine. I think many of us are guilty, including ourselves.
The dilemma of supporting locals: Sometimes it’s not easy.
The next day we needed a portion for our BQ. We called some local stores, and no one responded to our needs.
Last Saturday I was committed to supporting local businesses and went out to buy many gifts on my Christmas list.
In short, this is what I found:
I traveled 45 minutes to get a 10 minute item, so I could save a ڈالر 10 shipping charge.
Because of Covid-19, I had to stand in line outside, about ten minutes in the cold, to enter the store and look around.
There was another store across the street that I wanted to check out. The lineup was twice as long so I adopted the idea.
A shop I really wanted to go to (and Sahara) was closed until 2 p.m. It was 2:30 when I got there.
I went to two stores that had a small portion of the inventory they usually had during the holiday season. Once again, the epidemic forced them to remove the shelves in the center corridor to adjust the social distance.
Another small specialty store allowed only one customer at a time and I had two people in front of me. I was running out of time, so I got back in my car.
And don’t even start with the pressure of dealing with traffic jams and finding parking …
I went for four hours, trying my best to support the locals but Dang it was not easy! Not to mention how tired I was when I got home.
Now in the spirit of complete transparency, I went to a big box store and guessed?
There is no lineup at the door due to the large size of the store.
I got exactly what I wanted.
I also got a 30% coupon on my phone while standing in line.
And I was in and out in a few minutes.
This is difficult for small businesses to cope with.
But if they want to survive, they will need it.
Major box stores, including Amazon, offer their choice and competitive pricing because they have the infrastructure to support these value-based initiatives.
And it’s not like it’s part of any “new” economy.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have internet, but we had mail order. Remember the wonderful Fat Sears Christmas wish book that came in the mail?
My dad would sit with my brother and I snuggled up in the toy section, circling my favorite circles with the happy hope of what to open on Christmas morning.
Remember, completing this wish list was not as easy as it is now.
Today the user just needs to shop from the comfort of his home and, voila! Gifts arrive a few days later, wrapped and placed under a tree.
As a small business (especially one with a brick mortar), how can you cope?
Here are some ideas to consider:
Think in terms of value. What can you bring to a table that your customer can’t find in a big box online store or Amazon?
Customer service. The more specific you are, the better.
The uniqueness of the product is that it a) can’t be found anywhere else and b) makes a great alternative to what they would have bought elsewhere.
Quality Most of the time, price determines quality. Cheaper prices mean lower quality. It’s hard to compete on price, so can you compete on quality instead?
Convenience How can you make shopping with yourself easier than with Amazon? For example, can you offer the same features that Amazon likes:
Ease of use
In selling prices
Free / low cost shipping
Always think about the value of your business offer because that’s why consumers base their purchasing decisions.
In order for people to support local transportation in the store, products or services must be of equal or higher quality / price than those offered by Amazon or other online big box companies.
COVID-19 has certainly had a huge impact on small businesses, especially those with bricks and mortar that rely on local consumers. This epidemic is having an effect and will continue to do so.
Now is the time to take a closer look at your business model!