7 Biggest Strengths of Local Shops
And how you can build on them.
Remember the 7 Weaknesses of Local Shops? They were crazy popular because they touched a nerve. I acknowledged that some of our local businesses really need to step up to earn business today. This series is the flip side of that idea.
Small town stores have strengths, too. Our best local shops know a lot about customer service and community, and every business would be wise to learn from our strengths.
Because we have the Shop Local movement pushing more people to think about local, all the efforts we make at improving turns into a virtuous cycle: better local shopping, more people thinking local, more sales captured, more repeat sales earned, more prosperity for business, more prosperity in the community, and more prosperous small towns.
I’m launching a seven week series on the strengths and how we can build on them.
- Get to know you
- Make customers feel loved
- Fewer layers
- More flexible
- More knowledgeable
- Benefiting the local community
If you’re a local business, you can take these to heart. Make an honest effort to strengthen each of these areas over the next 7 weeks.
If you’re with a Chamber of Commerce or other business organization, you can gather a small group of merchants who want to work on these together. Meet, go over the strengths and work to be even better.
Strength 1. Small town businesses get to know you, your needs and wants.
The pharmacy where they know and anticipate what you and your aging mother-in-law will need next week.
The local market manager who carries gluten free for you and actively looks for new items you might like to try.
The comic book shop owner who sends you pictures of the 3 new arrivals that he knows are your favorites.
Those are all true small-town stories shared with me by small town people.
Small town businesses get to know you. Not just you, the customer with money, but also you, the customer who matters enough to learn about.
What can any business do to get to know their customers better?
- Take time to learn names.
- Introduce yourself by name, and ask for theirs.
- Notice names on credit and debit cards, or checks. (Because in small towns, we still take checks.)
- Write the customer’s name out by hand. You’ll remember it longer.
- Make note of what people like and want. Keep a list.
Consider a more high tech list, like a CRM database. At the basic level, CRM allows you to make notes about customers and track your email interactions with them.
- Retail’s big split: why big boxes are in trouble and what small town retailers can do - May 22, 2017
- Surprising results in the Survey of Rural Challenges 2017 - May 15, 2017
- Where to find local entrepreneurs online - May 8, 2017
- Where do you find potential entrepreneurs? - May 1, 2017
- How can a municipality support entrepreneurship? - April 24, 2017
- Small town retail trend: shared spaces - April 10, 2017
- A blue Brag Basket - March 24, 2017
- Tiny businesses in storage sheds: a rural economic development tool - March 19, 2017
- Your secret advertising tool: empty buildings downtown as billboards - March 13, 2017
- What businesses work in towns under 500 - March 6, 2017