Sep 25th, 2020
Digitizing your Retail Business
Entering into the 2020's it's becoming more and more obvious that businesses particularly those in retail are no longer able to compete unless they begin digitizing their business. It's no longer enough to have a facebook page or a simple website showcasing a phone number and hours of operation. Many of the businesses you see which appear to be operating like that are still likely using platforms like Square and Quickbooks to digitize all their financial operations.
If you're currently running a small or medium retail business there are numerous platforms and custom solutions you can implement to digitize your business, and broaden your market share.
Its Not Enough
It's rare to hear an entrepreneur's plan that doesn't involve a website, social media profiles and often a basic online store. The current trends in the market are showing though that it's not enough to have just have these things. From the claims of marketing companies that online content is the most important tool to drive traffic along with the explosion of competition within these platforms simply having them isn't enough for a modern retail business. In the digital space you no longer compete with the other local businesses, you begin to compete on a global scale. Imagine that the internet is one big town, and the conglomerates and billion dollar businesses own the downtown core. Where is your business right now? Is it getting enough foot traffic? Are you hidden deep in a digital alleyway?
How To Get Downtown, Digitally Speaking
In order to get a space in the greater digital downtown a business has to take steps beyond the basics. Digital marketing campaigns and social media presence are great but everyone knows this and everyones using those strategies. So how do you get there? Regardless of your retail focus a great strategy for growth is not utilizing horizontal markets but vertical markets. Digitizing portions of your business can easily help you expand into vertical markets faster and with less risk. Let's explore this concept by examining a barber shop. The natural step for many barber shops is to offer products in their store such as razors, creams etc, but this rarely expands their customer base, it simply adds more opportunities for their customers to spend money. This fits the horizontal market as it's still revolving around hair services for the greater public. Focusing on facial hair and beard care moves a barber into a vertical market which is more exclusive, digitizing a reservation system, offering digital subscriptions or recommendation tools can also help with expanding into a vertical market. Building an online (on-demand) store for jewelry etc that looks great with a new haircut is also an easy way to service and expand a customer base.
The Digization of Downtown
As the world heads toward a post pandemic state its already been established that businesses will have to shift to maintain their current customer base, and particularly if they wish to expand that customer base. Utilizing digital solutions is cost effective and low risk, while offering opportunities to enter into vertical markets. As downtowns continue to digitize retail businesses will have to keep shifting, and the nature of a store being a place stockpiled with products will shift. Small retailers will have to become a solution provider for their customers, via digital and physical products.