Activate your online business before online businesses deactivate yours!
For the past ten years brick-and-mortar shops have been sweating and suffering by the rise of online shops. Everyday more and more shop owners inform themselves on e-commerce and start to activate their online presence, with Facebook being one of the prefered platforms.

It doesn't really matter if you sell on Facebook, Ebay, Etsy or Vinted, all that truly matters is that you sell online and activate the online presence of your brick-and-mortar shop.

If you have the capability of offering the convenience of online shopping and the customer service and personal touch of a brick-and-mortar shop, do it. Because with some good organisation you can definitely create a winning combination.

#1. How to start competing with online businesses
Fight fire with fire and connect with your customers and possible new customers online.

This strategy can be split in two parts:
  1. Just because you're running a brick-and-mortar store doesn't that you don't have the capability of also selling your products or services online. Creating a complete separate webshop website is quite a hassle, admitted. Then just don't create a complete separate webshop-site. For small businesses Sayl Retail is the perfect solution for those who want an easy entry-level ecommerce tool.
  2. Create yourself a social media strategy and get your brand out there on as much social media platforms as possible. The essence of selling online is by connecting with your potential customers, online. You might have a beautiful brick-and-mortar store but that isn't going to help you with getting your online presence. If you have a beautiful brick-and-mortar store you can use pictures of it to lure customers to your webshop.
#2. The magic of online presence lays in Social Media and collecting email addresses
Sure, Social Media is great, but email marketing is possibly even more effective. It's once you managed to obtain a good strategy for collecting email addresses, combined with Social media presence, that you can work magic.

Email is still the most common way for people to interact with another online. So if you are able to obtain the email addresses of your possible clients, you have the ability to properly stay on top of mind. You can keep them up to date with weekly or monthly newsletters; new special promotions, new related news, featured items and many more.

To organize your email marketing MyMailMarket is a great tool. You can easily set up mailings and templates and manage them accordingly.

To keep your customers happy and to not make your mails feel like spam, there are two rules we advice you to follow:
  1. Use an opt-in system for when you're collecting the email addresses. This makes sure that the user is aware of the fact the he is going to receive emails from you.
  2. Don't overdo it. It's good to stay top-of-mind with your customers but by spamming them everyday with a newsletter or a product update you're going to leave a bad taste in their mouth, and that's not the point.
#3. Offer a unique shopping experience in your
brick-and-mortar store.
A great way to drive new traffic to your brick-and-mortar store is by offering a unique shopping experience and exclusive products that you don't sell online.

If your webshop is equal to your brick-and-mortar store than why would people have to come all the way to your store? The click of a button is still much easier than the hassle of transportation.

Give your customers good reasons to shop at your webshop, and while you have their attention, give them even better reasons to come and visit your store. This could be done by offering exclusive products or maybe a contest or a cool event. Make them feel like the trip to your store is worth it!
#4. Be the talk of the town
Last but not least, no really be able to compete with all those big-budget online businesses out there, make sure you're the talk of the town with your store and webshop by going for that online presence. Search for your customers in local groups or bars, or maybe join a non-profit or a volunteering organisation. You are a walking billboard for your store, so make sure you're seen.

Yes, you can!

In the beginning it won't be easy to figure out how to optimize your ecommerce and online presence and combining it with your brick-and-mortar store, but all things are hard in the beginning, it's a matter of routine. It'll take time for you and your shop to create a community but once you have them, it can only get better. If you keep investing time at least.

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