Face it, unless you’re offering something incredibly original, your online store is facing some pretty fierce competition. Whether you’re up against digital giants like Amazon or a bevy of other eager craftspeople or artists looking to make a buck off of eBay or Etsy, you’re not in a position to corner the market. With Internet marketing growing at a rate of 67 percent according to Forbes, the competition is only going to get fiercer. There are a few different ways you can give yourself an edge, though. Advertising campaigns – either traditional or through social media – are one option. However, if that doesn’t fit your preferences, there’s another option you can consider: your local market.
Beyond the Farmers Market
Most vendors at farmers markets now incorporate at least some mobile e-commerce tools into how they do business. They have to if they want to stay competitive. Indeed, some of the larger markets require vendors to be able to process debit and credit cards. If you have a local farmers market, then you should definitely be there. But you want to go beyond that. Network within your community and keep your eyes open for even smaller, local venues.
Having a table at a church fair or library craft show does more than just give you an opportunity to sell your goods, often with low or no fees for the table. The right mobile POS solutions makes it easy to set up without investing in a lot of equipment, too. This kind of venue lets you connect with community members and get your business out there. One of the biggest challenges in e-commerce is putting a face and personality to your store. By reaching out to your local market, you can do that.
Another place you can take your e-commerce business is local stores. Talk to store owners to see if they can carry a selection of your products. “Locally made” is a great selling point, especially for stores that specialize in unique gifts. Don’t just drop off your products and then check in occasionally to see if they’ve sold, though. That won’t help you make the sort of connections that you can boost into additional business on your online store. Offer to do demonstrations or run classes on your skill.
Most local small business owners know the value of being active in the community. You want to do the same. Even though you don’t have a traditional brick-and-mortar store, do what you can to reach out to the community. Get your product into the local market through markets, fairs, and stores that sell local goods. Participate in community activities and volunteer opportunities so you can connect with the people around you – and do some good while you’re at it. By making sure that you are a strong presence in your local community, you can draw more customers from that community. While an online store markets to the world at large, there’s no reason why you should ignore the simple things you can do to gain the loyalty of those potential customers right down the road.