The 7 Most Common Weaknesses of Local Shops
And what we’re all going to do about them.
As we head into the busy holiday shopping season, we are seeing lots of Shop Local messages working to get customers to think about shifting their shopping more to local stores. I want to add another layer, and get rural business owners to think about making Better Local Shopping to hold on to those customers.
This is part 6 of a seven week series on the weaknesses and what we can do about them.
If you’re a local business, you can take these to heart. Make an honest effort to improve in each of these areas over these 7 weeks. That takes us up to Thanksgiving holiday in the US, Shop Small Saturday, and the final few weeks of holiday shopping everywhere.
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 weakness, brainstorm some ideas, and maybe find ways to share resources and turn them into strengths.
- Weakness 1: Limited Business Hours
- Weakness 2. Poor Customer Service
- Weakness 3. Limited Selection
- Weakness 4: High Prices
- Weakness 5: Dated Appearance or Ugly Building
- Weakness 6. Not Marketing
- Weakness 7. Failing the Showrooming Test
Weakness 6. Not Marketing
It’s a small town, so surely everyone knows about every business, right? Actually, no. There are new businesses, new residents, visitors, and travelers. Just think about how many people that adds up to. How are they supposed to find out about local businesses?
Solution: Tell everyone about your businesses.
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, offered this surprising example.
A few years ago when I was hired to help a coffee chain improve their business, I walked 1000 homes in ½ mile radius of their store. The results were surprising- less than 25% of the people knew the store existed. While this may seem like bad news and sure, in some ways it was, it helped us focus the store’s marketing efforts to know what they could do better. One year later, we assessed the same people and 90% of them knew the store’s tagline and knew the location. Don’t assume that everyone knows you because you’re in a rural area and the options are limited. The chances are good that they don’t.
With all the marketing tools available today, no business has an excuse for not marketing. Every business can find ways to get the word out, once they stop presuming that everyone already knows.
We’ve got a whole category of marketing articles to help you.
My top two marketing tips for today:
- Get found on Google Plus Local Pages.
- Adopt the small town style of social media marketing. It actually applies to all your marketing, everywhere and all the time.
- About the Author
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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.