It’s no secret that running a brick-and-mortar business is tough. Restaurants have a reputation for barely lasting a year, if that, before having to close their doors. Retail stores are finding it difficult to compete against online options. Even businesses providing in-person services may have to compete with at-home and mobile options. The costs of running a brick-and-mortar business can be hard to handle too, especially when running an online business can have far fewer overheads. So what can you do to make sure that your brick-and-mortar business survives? How can you continue to attract customers so that you can maintain and grow your business?
Know Why People Choose Brick-and-Mortar Stores
Although many people have turned to online shopping, people still visit brick-and-mortar locations. When you can get pretty much anything delivered to your home, people still enjoy going shopping, eating at restaurants and cafes, and more. It’s important to understand why people choose to go to stores and other locations, instead of just staying at home. They’re not just looking for material things, but also want the experience of shopping in a store or eating in a restaurant.
When they shop in a brick-and-mortar store, they can speak to salespeople in person. They can try on clothes or see, touch, and test the things that they want to buy so that they can assess their quality and make sure they’re buying the right products. They also get to take their purchases home right away, instead of waiting days or even longer for things to be delivered. It can also be a more social experience, which people enjoy with their friends and family, whereas online shopping is more of a solitary experience.
Similar things can be said about eating in a restaurant. While it’s possible to have food delivered to your home, going out to eat is a full experience. Your food is served to you, you get to enjoy the atmosphere, and you don’t have to do the dishes at the end.
Understand Online Competitors
As well as knowing why people choose to go to brick-and-mortar stores, it’s also important to understand your online competitors. Why do people shop online? What can an online business offer that you don’t, and, more importantly, what can you offer that isn’t available online? It’s a good idea to think about how you can make use of online activity too. Should you offer online delivery or click-and-collect services? By recognizing the things that make online shopping popular, you can make sure you’re not missing out on any revenue that could be coming your way through online sales. Even if you don’t sell online, you should still promote your business online using your website, SEO, social media, and more.
Find Funding for Growth
You need to think about growing your business if you want to be able to survive. Having plans for promotion and taking the initiative to do new things will keep things interesting and ensure both new and existing customers keep coming. When you want to grow your business, you need to have the appropriate funds. The funding that you need could come from a number of places, from your profits to a business loan. One option is a merchant cash advance, which is ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses. After borrowing the money, you repay it through the card payments that you collect. All you need is a card reader to get card payments from customers, and a portion of payments will be taken to repay your loan. You keep your cash payments, and you benefit from flexible repayments too.
There are plenty of other ways to find the funding that you need too. You could be funded through a business loan from your bank, or you might look for an investor who is willing to back your business.
Focus on Customer Experience
Once you understand why people like to visit brick-and-mortar stores and other businesses, you can work on creating a customer experience that draws them in and keeps them coming back. If you own a retail store, just offering the opportunity to come and browse your products might not be enough. People can do that online, and even get next-day delivery to get their things faster. There are plenty of ways to create a good customer experience, but it’s important to keep your brand in mind. What are your customers looking for from you?
Improving your customer experience could include offering excellent, personalized customer service. It could also mean offering extra services or ways for your customers to enjoy the space that you offer them. Lots of book stores also sell coffee and cake or offer their customers cozy areas to sit down and read. Think about what you can give your customers that they can’t get from online competitors.
Learn from Those Getting It Right
Whenever you’re looking for ways to keep your business going, it makes sense to look at the businesses that are doing well. You don’t necessarily want to copy what they’re doing, but they can provide you with inspiration to come up with your own ideas. What trends can you observe in the brick-and-mortar businesses that people are flocking to? What are people looking for in the experiences that they get from the stores and other businesses that they choose to visit? Consider how you can adapt these ideas for your brand.
Go Above and Beyond
One way that brick-and-mortar businesses can beat out online competitors is by going above and beyond to give customers what they want. Offering an average experience to your customers is going to make it hard for you to compete against both online businesses and other brick-and-mortar businesses. Go beyond your customers’ expectations to make sure that they enjoy themselves and leave your business feeling happy. You might be able to offer a specialized service or a loyalty scheme that keeps our customers coming back by rewarding them for shopping with you.
Brick-and-mortar businesses don’t have to die out just because online shopping has become more popular. They can keep going if they know how to survive.