Showrooming is a bit of a new trend. Your customers, even in small towns, are standing in your store and using their smartphone to compare your price with online retailers. If the product is cheaper at the online store, they order it immediately, and you just lost a sale.
For small town retailers, this can be devastating because our costs can be higher and volume lower. In short, it’s hard to compete on price alone. Especially when our business pays for the store, provides jobs for the retail clerks, gives customers the education and information, and everything else that goes into being the show room. And then the online retailer doesn’t collect sales tax, giving them an additional price advantage (and hurting your municipal government.)
What can small town stores do about this?
My friend and fellow retailer Daniel Gordon had a reason to think about it this weekend, and our mutual friend Chad Henderson jumped in with good advice:
Chad is on the right track: customers need reasons, and they need to connect with you. I added a few more ideas:
Offer them something special not available anywhere else.
Show them exclusive items, especially local items.
Talk about the local causes your business supports.
Be a real person.
I finished by saying, “if all else fails show ’em pictures of your cute kids! How could anyone resist??” I wasn’t really kidding. The more you can connect with customers as human beings, the more likely they are to stick with you for the sale.
|Special gift wrapping like this is just one way to |
Photo courtesy of Daniel Gordon.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.