Whether it is an online shop, SEO, or social media. Retailers need to take action. We have summarized some major actions for small and medium retail business and what they can do to start the online business or enhance their web appearance.
Now that national governments rolled out actions against the spread of the Coronavirus retail stores are forced to close. The whole non-food retail industry undergoes an extremely forced shift from offline to online commerce. So far, it is hard to predict how the landscape of retail will look after this crisis. Chain stores and retailers of small- and medium-sized businesses are threatened by long-term closures and struggle to pay their rent, salaries, and pre-ordered shipments after four weeks of lockdown.
Experts already predict that the e-commerce giants Amazon and Alibaba will be the greatest winners of this crisis. The advantages of a well-established system of easy and quick deliveries in connection with a loyal and gigantic customer base pay off more than ever before. Controversially, some countries now even started to prohibit discount supermarket chains to selling other products than food, such as fitness or garden equipment, or children’s’ games. The supposed goal is to protect local retailers which cannot contribute to the competition due to the lockdown. But is this the right strategy?
Amazon is still available online 24/7, not caring about any local restrictions. And so do most customers. We must not forget: All customers are supposed to stay at home with plenty of time not going out in restaurants, to music concerts, to the movies, and are not planning one-day trips to amusement parks, weekend city trips, or holidays. Additionally, many parents need to find diverse ways to entertain their children. Shortly, consumer still consume.
What can you – as a small- or medium-sized local retailer – do to stay in the game? Take action!
- Start the Online Business
To maintain sales, it is obvious that retailers start their online shops. Of course, it might be hard to find someone who could help to code and develop an online shop on short notice. If you do not know anybody personally, pages such as ebay Kleinanzeigen (Germany) or willhaben (Austria) help to find people who offer to take over such jobs. Some people are not afraid of getting a bit “techy” in web technologies you might consider one of the following online shop systems:
Additionally, many local areas offer platforms on which retailers can sign up and handle it as their online shop. Retailers only need to upload product pictures, add descriptions, and delivery times. The advantage is, you do not have to manage the development of the platform and profit from their marketing activities.
- shoepping.at (Austria)
- gemeinsamschaffenwirdas.at (Austria)
- wien.gv.at/zusammen (Austria)
- wieselburg-handelt.at (Austria)
- Enhance your local SEO
More than ever, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important factor not only for online businesses!
- Make sure you are visible on Google My Business – it’s a standard for every business to be found by customers.
- Other platforms to consider are tourist platforms of your city, regional newspapers, B2B portals, Facebook Places, Herold (Austria), Yelp!, etc.
There is plenty of information on SEO available online. See this Google introduction video on more information on local marketing: Video or take free classes on how to promote your website and online consumer behavior at the Google Digital Garage.
The keywords of a Google search must appear on your webpage. Words, pictures, videos and where those are placed on your webpage influence Google’s search results. Also, new information on your webpage is important.
Understand this as a starting point – SEO is a massive topic. Consider getting support from an expert in this field. If the person is a pro, you will find his/her webpage immediately on Google. 😉
- Take Social Media Actions!
If you have not considered it so far, use social media channels to address the broader group of potential customers. Share pictures and stories with your audience, which might be of their interest. Smaller companies even use Facebook pages instead of a websites. To start, connect with people you know on the platform. Facebook, for example, is easy to use and offers the possibility to connect with the customers in your surrounding.
In more advanced cases, find out if there are city portals, Influencers or so-called Micro-Influencers (starting from 1000 followers) from your town on Instagram. Ask them, if they could share your post and raise attention with their audience.
Yes, the current circumstances for local retailers are challenging. Yet, the good news is that you are not alone! There is a wide variety of local communities, newspapers, and government efforts to keep retail local. Hence, cooperate with other retailers in your community and list your website on online platforms like (Austria) to ensure to get as much attention as possible to your new website.
You will find more articles on retail during Corona on our blog: PERFORM Blog