Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Can local businesses thrive in the new economy? The resounding answer is yes.

The new economy of today presents a great opportunity for
local businesses to not only succeed, but expand their
customer base. You might wonder, How can I compete with large
stores and internet retailers prices? Well, in actuality the
bargains the large chain stores and internet offer are hardly
the deals they seem to be. At the end of the day, the
savings are quite minimal and the customer doesn't receive
the service, advice, or personal touch offered by local
businesses.

In today's market, customers are seeking quality products for
their money. They're choosing how they spend their money
with more caution and rely on more information when it comes
to purchasing products. It's not about getting lots of items
cheaply, it's about customers getting products they want,
they need, and that will last. Local businesses can easily
tap into this customer mindset by providing quality service
and specialized products. As a local business, you offer two
things that larger stores do not: quality service and
convenience.

SERVICE

1-Be helpful and give advice.

People will always pay a little more for better service if
they know you and feel they can trust you and your products.
Don't ever be hesitant to give advice because you fear those
potential customers will take your advice and then go buy it
on the internet or at a bigger store. Sure, some may, but for
most people, the sense of trust and interaction will prove
beneficial in the long run and next time they could buy from
you if your advice holds up. Providing help and advice is the
key to building customer-owner relationships.

2-Go the extra mile for your customers.

Making a customer's experience run smoothly will ensure will
become a repeat customer and pass the word on to their
friends. As a local business, you enjoy the benefit of being
geographically close to many of your customers. People value
their time, so if there's a product a customer needs to be
ordered, or they call and ask if you have this product, offer
to deliver it for a small fee. Let them know about events
related to your products in your neighborhood, county, or
region as it applies.

CONVENIENCE

1-Be readily available for your customers.

How many times have you called a big store or shown up and
the person there didn't know how to help you? Local
businesses can be reached by phone and e-mail-answering
specific questions about products. By keeping your online
presence up-to-date, you can increase contact with your
community and customer base: update your online calendar of
events, announce new products, and be open to providing
advice for your community makes you stand out.

2-Let the big businesses in your area know you exist.

Big businesses carry a lot of products and sometimes
sacrifice specialization in one product for a diversity of
many products. Check out your local larger competitors, see
what it is they do and don't carry, and let the person
working there know you about your store. Perhaps when a
customer comes in to their store and can't find what it is
they need, the person working there will suggest your store
as an alternative. You offer a specific product and service
to the community, so let everyone know you're part of it!

3-Interact with your community.

Trying hosting events or showing up at local activities that
are related to the products you offer. By hosting events in
the evenings or on weekends based on products, skill sets, or
holidays, you will engage and interact with your core
customer base. This not only allows you to get to provide
your own kind of outstanding service, but it also allows you
to get feedback from your customer base and stay competitive.
Events are also easy to advertise with social media and can
easily be forwarded, which is why maintaining your online
presence is crucial.

The past few years have taught us to be creative with both
our money and our businesses and fortunately the online world
has made customer-business interaction increasingly easier.

By interacting with your customer base online, at your store,
and in the community, your reputation will spread and your
store will thrive in any economy.

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