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How to Compete Against Big Retail Businesses

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Internet sales are increasing at an astounding rate, out-pacing the retail sales of “brick and mortar” stores across the country. For the small, retail store, the odds of success in a world of large retailers that can offer more products are concerning, and with the addition of Internet sales, these small retailers may need to incorporate some marketing and product creativity to survive and stand out.

The advantage of a small, retail business, is the products that are offered tend to be more exclusive or different than those offered in large retail stores. These products alone can be incentive enough to draw in customers off the street, especially in the home decor industry, since customers and clients may prefer the ability to physically touch items like floor vases, planters or botanical accessories. Many small retailers are taking advantage of the niche status of the inventory offered, as well, choosing inventory based on the customer’s requests, such as bamboo for Asian decor or Bali Flowers for spring and summer decoration. These personal touches to a small retail store can create a different mood in the mind of the consumer, giving the business a reputation as an “expert” in the field, instead of a generic showroom, and establishing a store as the place to go for hard-to-find items.

With the increased volume of Internet sales, no business, regardless of size, can be without some sort of Internet presence. Even small retailers can benefit from an informative website that not only displays products for sale, but also offers decorating tips, advice and other articles of interest to its consumers, along with a way for customers to easily find the store. The ability of a customer to contact a business online, and receive a response, is imperative to the success of a business and small retail stores have an advantage over larger corporate entities in the ability to establish a personal rapport through e-mail, Twitter or Facebook while discussing the best shape, size and color of bamboo for that person’s personal decorative needs. It may also be beneficial for the small business to have a means for customers to order products online, with the option to pick up the order in the store, eliminating shipping costs and encouraging a long-lasting customer relationship.

Whether a small business retailer is selling bamboo, floor vases or other decorative elements to liven up a home, business or office, one of the most important aspects of the business is the establishment of customer relationships and loyalty. This customer loyalty is quite possibly the best way for the small retailer to compete against bigger, online retail establishments by providing an atmosphere of trust, knowledge and customer care that cannot be duplicated and keeps the magic of “real world” business relationships possible. The Internet is growing as a dynamic and responsive sales tool in the belt of retailers around the world, but the personal touch of a local business can be just as much of a winning tool in the competitive world of retail commerce.

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