Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on January 19th, 2014

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Small, local business can't afford to continue to ignore e-commerce.


Many small businesses live and die by the "shop local" mantra. But, let's face it, the reach of e-commerce and technology is getting far too big to ignore. We don't live in the times of Mayberry or Grady anymore. For businesses to survive, especially retail, they need e-commerce.

Let's take for an example if you own a small boutique. But in that small boutique, you sell high-end merchandise. Your customer base is women with a high sense of fashion. You have cute, unique and trendy items. You carry all the best brands within the walls of your small, friendly store. You probably already accept credit cards. So, why not branch out and move into e-commerce?

In the world of high fashion, the fashionista out there wants that cute pair of jeans in her size, even if it means she has to order it from a small boutique in another town. Why wouldn't you want to sell her those jeans if you have them in stock and in her size? Would you really turn down a sale because the customer didn't walk thru your physical front door? When you promote "shop local" would you really turn down a paying customer who walked thru your door who was in town on business or vacation just because they were not "local"? Absolutely not! But isn't that what you are doing by not embracing e-commerce?

Gone are the days of thinking that if you are the only store in town selling "X" you have no competition. You have it in places like Zappos, Amazon and major department stores who are offering free next day shipping and free returns. So if you don't have the size or color a local customer is looking for they will find it online somewhere else. You can compete and offer the same thing. You may have a size in stock that the big guns don't have. Wouldn't you love the chance to win a share of their business by selling to a customer they cannot? Just because you enable e-commerce doesn't mean you cannot promote shopping locally. I do wonder though, where does the shop owner that promotes "shop local" purchase all their inventory? Are they only buying from a local vendor? Of course not, that's impossible.

E-commerce will also assist with your SEO. You may be missing out on more local customers because they have no idea you sell the brands they are looking for. Do you just have an informational website that doesn't have your inventory outlined? If locals don't have any idea you sell something, they will buy it from the store they find online that they know sells the brand they are looking for. Experts are predicting a continued rise in e-commerce in 2014, are you prepared?

At the start of 2013 experts predicted a 13 percent increase in e-commerce for the year. Analysts statistics showed a 30 percent jump in Cyber Monday sales in 2013. I realize it's only mid-January, but you need to start planning now. It's time to stop resisting and get on the e-commerce bandwagon. Sure shopping local, and supporting your local community is great. But it's no longer a realistic way to operate a business in 2014 and expect it to grow and thrive. Whether you like it or not, you have more competitors than you think. They are in neighboring towns, states and yes, even other countries. Stop missing out. Contact us today to see how e-commerce can benefit your business.