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How to Market Your Brick & Mortar Business to Online Customers!

Q: My family owns an independent books and gifts store. What are the best ways to market ourselves and stay afloat and compete with online bookstores?

I have to say as an author and someone who has been in the publishing field for several years now,  I would like to offer a couple of simple steps that could change your entire financial picture and generate years of success.

First, stop trying to “compete” with others in your industry whose presence is primarily online.  Instead, keep your focus on serving your customers and creating new ways to bring more value to them and their experience with you.  If you have been following any of the trade publications over the last year or two you will see one glaring fact and that is e-readers, digital downloads, and smart phones are here to stay and now make up the bulk in book sales.  

My recommendation to you is to build your own e-bookstore online and set up an in-store kiosk so your customers can shop online, in your store, download digital books, or purchase a hard-copy all under your brand.  You should already have a website up and marketing to your customer base even though you are a brick & mortar business.  If you don’t, get one pronto!  I have been a fan and customer of GoDaddy for years and they are already set up to help you with your email marketing and your e-store. It will also allow you to build your online “list” and send thank you auto-responders after purchase and campaigns or notices of special events.  In today’s market this is an absolute essential. You will be able to continually upload books as needed. Now, here is the kicker.  Brick-n-mortar bookstores who also have an online store have seen a 30% increase in revenue.  Your online store works for your 24/7, 365 making you money while you sleep and letting your customers shop at their convenience  

The key here is customer service.  The better your service your customer in all the ways they like to shop the deeper the brand loyalty.  Then, add that something special they can only get at your store such as year round gift wrapping and gift cards that can be used for digital downloads at your online store or in-store purchases.  I hope this has helped you.  If you need more in depth help please feel free to Contact me.  I would also strongly suggest that you download a copy of Business Genesis and take a close look at chapters 4,5, and 6. I think you will find them very helpful in a very practical step by step way and you will find a lot more of detailed information than what I can provide to you here. Good luck and I wish you continued success. And, please stop by Twitter for a chat! We love hearing what you are up to!


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Have a comment or question about this week’s post? Let us hear from you! Post your own success stories or ask a question about how to move your own business forward to success! We love hearing from you and read every post personally! You can join the fun on our Twitter Chat and share your own success tips! If you are looking for more practical hands-on help we have two other resources for you. First, we have created an actual Small Business Toolkit for small business owners just like you to help you start and grow your own successful business and meet today’s challenges head-on with confidence. You can find yours right here. 

If you scroll down just a bit further I also have a collection of more success tips. Just click on any of the links. If you have a question about your business please feel free to Contact Us and send a personal message. We love hearing from you and will respond just as quickly as we can.