Written by guest blogger Marissa Perez
It’s no secret that big retailers like Amazon are challenging small business owners. How do you compete directly with a powerhouse like that when your business is more of a pipsqueak? Read on for insights that will help your business shine, even in the shadow of the retail giants.
Spruce up your space
Even if websites like Amazon have changed the world of retail, The Balance points to statistics indicating brick-and-mortar sales are alive and well. Even shoppers who research online are more apt to make purchases in a physical store. With that in mind, consider making upgrades to your space. Four walls gives you a solid advantage over major online retailers, and the more attractive and well-designed your store is, the more you’ll catch shoppers’ eyes - and their business. For layout ideas, check out this smart infographic from Napier Marketing Group.
Funds might keep your ideas in check, but there are a couple of agreeable types of SBA Real Estate Loans worth considering in order to make improvements. The SBA 7(a) loan program and the SBA CDC/504 loan program are both designed for real estate, but thanks to the 7(a) line, they can potentially fit your circumstances. These loans can be hard to qualify for, but the payoff is their excellent rates, and the facelift could strengthen sales in the long run.
Level the playing field
Big dogs like Amazon have one obvious advantage over brick-and-mortar establishments: e-commerce. A website is a chance to stay open 24/7, letting customers shop whenever and wherever they choose. In order to level the playing field, a top-notch website is a must-have. Don’t fret if you’re not a computer guru, since there are plenty of ways to get a store online without knowing computer coding.
The best place to start is with a reliable website hosting service. Do some research to ensure you’re choosing a service that will be professional and dependable, since the last thing you want is your site to crash when customers start shopping. For instance, in reviews of InMotion, you can see they offer reliable and secure hosting, provide excellent customer support, and offer a 90-day free trial. Explore your options to ensure you get the best bang for your buck! And if you have a current website that is clunky or outdated, consider investing in bringing it up to speed.
If you build it, they will come
The website itself is one of the biggest factors that can make or break a business, so you want to make sure yours is as attractive and easy to navigate as possible. You can DIY a website using a website builder, which is essentially a drag-and-drop creation. These tend to be easy but lack flexibility, and might not look polished on all types of devices. Ideally, your new site will look great on laptops, tablets, and smartphones alike, so keep that in mind as you explore possibilities.
If you know a bit of coding, you can create a more tailored-looking site using a content management system (CMS). Business.com explains some are more e-commerce-friendly than others, so if you go that route, weigh the pros and cons carefully, and examine the features associated with each option.
Of course, you can always pay someone to build a website for you. Top web designers can ensure that your website engages its visitors and keeps them coming back to do more business with you. When you’re searching for an expert to hire, look for key skills on their profile, including experience with creating an effective user interface, knowledge of web fundamentals, and familiarity with web-design platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Squarespace.
Small businesses still have certain advantages over mega retailers like Amazon. Capitalize on your brick-and-mortar experience, and invest in a competitive website. With the right strategies, your small business can outshine the big dogs!
The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber is the 7th largest Chamber in the United States!