In the digital age, business management is all about following the ever-changing trends in the industry and adapting modern solutions. Former brick-and-mortar stores have upgraded their models to become brick-and-click shops, which allows them to exist in both physical and digital business landscapes.
From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem that local brick-and-mortar businesses in the community have lost their relevance since most consumers prefer online shopping. But while there is some truth to that statement, it still can’t discount the role that these local businesses play in helping the community where they belong to.
That’s because all the online businesses in the world can’t provide what time-tested brick-and-mortar stores can, especially to their patrons. Sure, having a physical location for a business may not be the easiest way to generate a profit these days, but running a brick-and-mortar shop relies on more than just easy money—it’s based heavily on the impact it can bring to the community.
Local business owners are a part of the community members’ lives. They see their customers in the morning before they head to work, and once more when they’re headed home. Plus, they can also make light conversation when they come across each other in the supermarket. They are a part of one another’s lives.
So, don’t believe that you’re losing your relevance to the community just because business is slow. If anything, it should motivate you to continue working harder and show your timeless patrons that you’re determined to compete against all these online businesses. And luckily, here’s how you can do just that:
1. Start a Customer Loyalty Program
Customers have difficulties saying no to discounts and promos, even if they’re not of a substantial amount. You can take advantage of this, targeting the weakness of most consumers by starting a customer loyalty program for your patrons. With this program, they can earn points and discounts every time they buy from your store.
The loyalty program will not only encourage your existing customers to continue supporting your local business, but it can also pique the interests of prospecting clients. This is because a customer loyalty program shows that you’re invested in providing exemplary service to your customers, which can then improve the entire customer experience.
2. Improve Your Storefront Design
While most customers prefer receiving good service over aesthetic appearances, it won’t hurt your cause if you improve your storefront design. Take a look around your shop and think about which areas you can enhance with new designs or more timely decorations. This could be the best time to revamp your store’s image too.
For instance, if you’re still sporting your signboard from 10 to 20 years ago. While a vintage sign has its own character, there’s nothing wrong with getting a new one when warranted. So this could be the right time to invest in an acrylic signboard that can give a fresher and more modern look to your storefront.
3. Promote Sustainable Packaging
With the state that the world is currently in, everyone has a social and environmental responsibility to think about the positive or negative impact of their actions. It’s no longer enough to make plans about saving the earth in the future because, at the rate that climate change is progressing, there might not be a future to save.
That’s why you need to start doing your part for the environment now. Don’t wait for a more convenient time because the future isn’t guaranteed. Fortunately, one of the best ways to implement this in your business is to promote sustainable packaging such as eliminating single-use plastics and non-biodegradable materials.
Instead, you can encourage your customers to bring eco bags when they come to shop and give incentives for those who do. Or you can look for a supplier that can provide you with sustainable packaging materials for your new customers. This way, you and your patrons can contribute to saving the environment, even if it’s a small effort.
4. Support Other Local Entrepreneurs
The best thing about belonging to a community is that you can hone healthy working relationships with your customers and the other business owners in the vicinity. Because most communities are like one big family, you might be able to extend your help towards the other local entrepreneurs when they need it.
In the same manner, they might be more likely to lend a helping hand when it’s your turn to ask. Don’t discount the power of amicable relationships because they might just be what you need to grow your business. So, don’t shy away from the opportunities to support the local entrepreneurs in your community.
Of course, all business owners are motivated by the idea of generating a profit. But that shouldn’t be your sole motivator to run your brick-and-mortar business because money might not be enough to motivate you when the going gets tough. Instead, treat the contribution and influence you have in your community as your main purpose.