I have wondered if it is about aging that I do not really care to walk to a Walmart anymore; even with 'falling prices". The whole "Big Box" idea seems so impersonal and I'm not crazy about the size of these mega beasts. (and...specifically produce. I think that Walmarts' have to pluck their fruit trees way before the fruit is even ready and let it ripen in their apple boxes. It seems that most everything is tasteless.) I really do not want to walk from the dog food aisle to the back corner for a gallon of milk. I have a close friend that owned her own business in another location and when Walmart was built in the town next to hers, she never set foot in it. Before "Shop Local" or "Shop Small" was even popular, she probably could have coined the practice of it. She grasped early on how they would affect the business climate in the community it was in and the surrounding communities. Remember Vermont who fought Sam Walton from coming into their state? They fought and held them out temporarily because they knew what would happen. I don't mean to bash Walmart though--I realize they provide many jobs and meet many budgets.
Some specialists in the field of business and the Wall Street Journal are talking about "dead malls". I find that amazing remembering when they were all the rage; but understand they are needing to change as well or they'll end. Strip malls appeal more to me because I can run in and run out after getting what I'm after.
Small Retailers are Increasing
We are definitely seeing a change in "retail." Deb & Becky from SaveYour.Town say that small retailers are increasing at a faster rate. John Schallert states that sales are being made "in person" and that does not always happen in the big stores. Consumers are beginning to look locally. They want to feel a connection to the product or the person making it, or they want to know their purchase really made a difference.
Thinking Outside the Box
I believe what we are witnessing however are the copycat stores who thought the best idea was to add more locations upon locations. Retail however now is being reinvented in some very big ways. If you can think it in your small business, then make it happen. It is going to be those proactive retailers that make themselves "destinations" and provide something new to their customer. The concept will only gather strength. If you can think it, make it happen for your store; creativity, rethinking, being proactive, personal and creating the "experience" will help small retail thrive, and despite competition, to grow. Think outside the box with retail. Try new things: after the normal 'open hours' and track sales during that time, train your employees to sell, embrace "shoppertainment", and the list goes on.
Offline and Online Sales
Spotify encourages "small retailers" to connect by jumping into the "off-line" AND "on-line" arena; make sales every way possible. I'm not an expert but can read and process like everyone when researching. One of the biggest things I'm learning is that you need online for your store as much as you need offline. You need a website to sell. Last summer when I made a video of a store, a woman inquired about a product they saw in the video. Make it easy for the consumer to track your products. Sell, sell, sell...if you can think it, you can make it happen.
Travel Backroads is another tool to use and to help travellers and locals find you. There is nothing I will not try to help you with. Have you listed with me? Check here in Services for pricing!
What ideas are you thinking about or making happen that helps your business?
I'd love it if you'd share.
I cannot reach every Chamber or business in South Dakota or the surround states. I could use help! Word of mouth is huge and your sharing with business owners would help get this directory on it's continued journey to helping local. Local has to mean something and it's one on one retail that will make the difference in the long haul. The cost of this directory is so minimal because I'm not in this to get rich but to help pay a bit for my time and to push our communities 'local' whatever that may be.
I'd sure appreciate your help in continuing to get the word out.
Happy New Year!