How Small Busi­nesses Can Fight Against On­line Busi­nesses and Win

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - Ex­cerpt from Frank Kenny.com/cham­ber­shelp-small-busi­ness-stay-com­pet­i­tive

On­line sales are an amaz­ing con­cept. A per­son can sell an item to some­one on the other side of the world, some­one they’ve never met and never will. But this ease of en­try into on­line sell­ing has also been the death knell for many a small busi­ness. How can they com­pete with the Ama­zon’s of the world that can now get an item into a cus­tomer’s hands (nearly) faster than that per­son can go to the store and buy it? What Small Busi­ness Can’t Com­pete Against If you’ve watched any of the book­stores go out of busi­ness then you know–small busi­ness can­not com­pete on price. They just don’t do the vol­ume of sales to be able to take a loss on a prod­uct just to get peo­ple in the door like the big re­tail­ers do. With some­thing like a book or any phys­i­cal item, some­one can eas­ily search for it on the In­ter­net. Not only can they find the cheapest price in your town, but they can find the cheapest price in the on­line world. That’s hard to com­pete against. Im­pos­si­ble, re­ally. But small busi­ness does some­thing those on­line re­tail­ers can’t touch. I know a busi­ness owner of a pro­mo­tional mar­ket­ing com­pany. She sells swag. If you’ve ever or­dered swag, you prob­a­bly just did an on­line search and found some cheap place. That’s how most mar­keters place or­ders, un­less you know some­one. She knew she couldn’t com­pete with plas­tic junk from other coun­tries but she also knew that con­vinc­ing peo­ple it was junk was a los­ing bat­tle. They didn’t care. It was just a giveaway. So she de­cided to go from her dingy ware­house to a mag­nif­i­cent show­room, a place where peo­ple could meet. She has plans to add “how-to” mar­ket­ing ses­sions and small busi­ness sem­i­nars. She’s no longer just sell­ing tchotchkes. She’s adding value. What Small Busi­ness Knows Small busi­nesses of­fer amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. While they can’t com­pete on pric­ing, they of­ten of­fer things that the mail can’t bring you–in­struc­tions, as­sis­tance, a valu­able shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. Kristie Shilling of the Monona East Side Busi­ness Al­liance said it beau­ti­fully when she shared with the cham­ber pros group, “… be­ing on­line is a very crowded mar­ket place so not only do they have to have an on­line store but they have to make a ma­jor in­vest­ment in their SEO in or­der for peo­ple to find them. I’ve been en­cour­ag­ing my re­tail mem­bers to fo­cus on the ex­pe­ri­ence that peo­ple have when shop­ping at their stores. It’s all about the ex­pe­ri­ence to­day. So for in­stance, we have a shoe store in our city. He will have a cob­bler present do­ing shoe shines, work­ing on leather in the store so peo­ple can ex­pe­ri­ence that be­cause it’s be­come a lost art. De­vel­op­ing those types of ideas is where I’ve been spend­ing my en­ergy.” What about you? By: Christina R. Green

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