Attention Retailers: How to Avoid Closing Your Doors in the Next 12 Months

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Is it bothering you that all you hear lately are retailers closing their doors for good? Business failure is high and it seems all we hear about is that these economic conditions are only going to get worse.

I tell you; it bothers me!

As a consumer, this impacts on what I can buy as it limits my choice and availability of Australian goods and services. With all this negativity in the air, I’m sure it saddens all small and large businesses within Australia; with ever-more empty retail spaces popping up, the future is the ‘unknown’ for many retailers.

 

Summarising the doom and gloom

  • A Dun & Bradstreet National Business Expectations Survey released, noted retailers were increasingly concerned about the threat of online and the global economic turmoil – about 55% of respondents said the slowing demand in retail was their number one concern (of course!).
  • The most hit areas within the industry have been the department stores and clothing and footwear retailers; their sales have declined by 6% since 2009 according to the RBA.
  • The RBA states that these trends are due to online stores and that Australian consumers are figuring out that overseas online retailers charge less than domestic retailers.

As you can tell from the above stats there is one main trend…

Businesses are concerned about online.

This is scaring small business owners, as it’s clearly an issue as overall small business failure has risen to 42% year-on-year, and firms with less than five employees rose 57%.

Start-up firms within manufacturing, service and the finance sectors fell by almost 100% in the December quarter, and NSW recorded the highest small business failure rate at 59%, accordingly to Dun & Bradstreet.

These figures aren’t very nice to hear; knowing that almost 50% of all small businesses are going to failure, that’s a 1 in 2 chance of succeeding!

 

Turning doom and gloom into boom & bloom!

Forget doom and gloom.

As a retailer you can now be confident that the future of retail is online; if you don’t want to acknowledge this then you’re heading to the front of the line for business failure. I say embrace online retailing, or as it’s called e-tailing. It’s the future and as a small business that wants to continue operating, you need to be a part of this essential trend.

Don’t let the big boys scare you; you’re only small while you’re not online. Once you’re online you can serve as many people as you wish – in Australia or overseas. An increase in your audience, results in an increase of customers, thus an increase in sales and profits.

Setting up an online store isn’t hard either, and you only have to do it once. You don’t have to pay rent or overhead costs and you are operating 24 hours 7 days a week. Tell me how this isn’t attractive to you?

Embrace the online trend and let your business BOOM into the online world, and begin blooming into a bigger and more profitable business.

 

The Realisation of the Intangible.

Having an online shop is a little different to having a retail front. A retail front is a tangible object – people can see it, walk into it, and touch it.

Due to the intangible aspect of your online shop, you can’t just build it and expect people to come. It’s important to know from the outset that you’ll need to utilise some marketing tactics to attract people to your website; such as advertising through Google or Facebook, utilising Search Engine Optimisation techniques to get you to the top of Google, paying investing in more traditional forms of advertising, just to name a few.

The best form of marketing you will ever utilise will be from your current customers. Being a customer puts you in a powerful position, you get to tell people what you think about a brand, product or company; this information is deemed credible because it has come from a trusted source. When people make a purchase, the information passed onto them about the brand, product or company, will impact their buying decision. Hence, we have witnessed Word of Mouth.

Ideally you want positive Word or Mouth; so utilising your current customers and ensuring their experience is not just positive but mind-blowing, will mean they pass around a great word for your business. An example of this would be Zappos and their 365 shoe return policy. Think about how you can really WOW your customers online and it will be repaid to you tenfold.

However, Word of Mouth by itself won’t do the job; you need to get on the sales and marketing bandwagon. When Jack Delosa, one of Australia’s Top Entrepreneurs, spoke to us at Web123 he stated that small business owners should be focusing 80% of their time on sales and marketing. Systemising the business to work on day-to-day operations without the owner, will allow the owner to focus purely on the sales and marketing; which in turn will revolutionised the business. Where is your focus currently?

 

It’s about being a Sheep; or even a purple Sheep.

This online trend isn’t going to go away; it isn’t a case of ‘if I stay offline I’ll look different and I’ll be unique and that’s why people will buy from me’ It’s a case of staying up with and ahead of your competition before they get too far ahead that you cannot catch up.

If your customers are buying online, then your competitors are selling online; so why aren’t you? I’m saying you need to follow the pack, you need to be online; you can still be the purple Sheep and be unique within your market, just do it online.

Embrace the purple Sheep movement… and get online!

As a small business ourselves we know what it is like for all other small businesses. Web123 is equipped with the resources and knowledge to help small businesses fight through these tough times. We don’t want the small business community to decline and we are here to make sure it doesn’t. So, if you need help with embracing these e-tailing trends give us a shout as we are the experts that can directly relate to your aching problems.

 

Do you have a story about your business succeeding during these tough times? We’d love to hear it, so leave us a comment!

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