Steadily over the last decade, the shift to an online buying experience has made its mark on the overall landscape of the world economy. With decreasing barriers to international business, as well as the internet providing an avenue to seek customers around the world, e-commerce has become the new dominant form of business.
What does that mean for your brick and mortar business?
For many small “mom and pop” shops, moving to an ecommerce platform seems daunting.
“Why would anyone ever buy my X online?”
The truth is, nearly every business that exists in a brick and mortar model has a counterpart that is already using ecommerce to sell that exact same product.
Diapers.com is a $50,000,000 business.
Kids sell their sneakers to each other on StockX.
People are turning their shopping trips to TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls into eBay businesses that bring in a living.
Even the local bagel spot near me is shipping and selling bagels across the contiguous United States.
The Coronavirus will make online sales even bigger
As the panic continues to escalate around the world, more and more people are going to look for ways to shop in a way that limits their exposure to large crowds as often as possible. With this, more and more people will be looking to shop for as many everyday essentials as they can.
This should be an opportunity for you!
One of my clients owns an Insurance Agency, and we were already on the path to building up him as a local expert inside his community, positioning him for thought leadership. With people scared, we are offering information and solutions that can help companies who right now are finding that they are unable to do business as usual.
With this development of an online expert, we are flattening the buying curve for his future clients. We are hitting them with real time information when they need it, and allowing his in person business to not be the hub of sales, but rather a location that offers stability and presence.
How could this work for your company?
Let’s say that you own a local restaurant that is now seeing a dip in people eating out during this time. Take this as a chance to build in a stronger and more unique take out service.
One restaurant near me even offers people a pot to take home filled with sauce and meatballs. You can provide whatever pasta you want and now you have a delicious meal done quickly, and a unique experience that no one else offers.
With more people shifting their focus to “How can I survive without going out”, creating options that cater to these people can help you launch an entire new business segment and future proof yourself to a more out of store experience.
Let’s say instead you are a local liquor store.
By offering a better website with pictures and small bits of information you can allow people to shop your store from home, and even buy online if they like. You also may offer unique types of wines or whiskeys that you can make into a bigger content piece.
You won’t need to sell thousands of dollars a week to make your online successful either, since your brick and mortar offers you a location for storage, content creation, and packing and shipping. A $29 per month website that gives you the freedom to sell a case a week can offset slow times, and allow you the opportunity to future proof your business against other local competition, as well as consumer movement to online platforms.
Brick and mortar still wins on relationships
I go into a specific coffee shop and everyone there knows my name. They can explain different coffee to me, and the different methods for brewing. While they may not be the best coffee in the world, they are great for me.
This trust in a relationship is a massive component for why an ecommerce solution for traditional brick and mortars can scale to an effective business segment so quickly. You aren’t starting from scratch, but actually enhancing your experience and options for your old clients, while offering a new way to draw in even greater amounts of customers.
The coronavirus is creating a massive scare for everyone, but in the end, we all will pull through this and need to be ready for our businesses to survive and thrive in an ever changing business landscape.
For some, this will force them to doubt their businesses future. I hope what I wrote will show you that there is a massive and scalable solution, available for anyone online. Ecommerce isn’t some large mountain, treacherous to scale, but rather a small hill that's worth walking up for most brick and mortars. I hope you will take the time to do it.