The verdict is in: Amazon is taking over the world. In fact, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, has recently been named the richest man in the world. In fact, according to James Cakmak, a leading equity analyst, Amazon could soon become the first trillion dollar company. He predicts that Amazon stocks will rise to $2,000.
But all that success for Amazon has led to what many have dubbed the “Retail Apocalypse.” So far this year, more retail stores have closed than even in the Great Recession. And that news has a lot of local business owners reeling as they try to figure out how to keep their doors open.
The Reason for the Retail Apocalypse
If you own a local business, it’s imperative that you understand how the landscape is changing and what steps you need to take in order to avoid becoming a victim of the current retail apocalypse. Most experts agree that the driving force behind so many local business closings is the internet. People are shopping online these days, and that’s forcing many small business to either change the way they try and draw in new business, or face a store closing. But here’s the interesting thing: recent studies have shown that consumers actually prefer to shop locally, but because the internet is designed to help people find national chains and informational articles, they give up when trying to find local businesses and instead make their purchase online.
Is your business struggling because it’s losing sales to the internet? If so, here are some steps you can take right now to prevent any further damage to your local business.
Be Seen Online
One of the biggest reasons local business owners are having to shutter their doors is that they don’t have an online presence. That’s a deadly mistake these days because most consumers go online when they want to find a local business. But the good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to build your own website. Local business directories like FindUsLocal.com offer a free local business listing that gives you that all-important online presence. The key is to ensure your business is listed correctly. When you list on multiple directories like Yelp and FindUsLocal, you’ll need to list your business name, address, phone number, and website if you have it, exactly the same on each business listing. If you don’t, the search engine spiders won’t attribute the local business listings to your store, and that may actually hurt your ability to be seen online.
Get the Conversation Going About Your Shop
The new world of online marketing is based on a simple concept: the interaction between a local business and consumers. In other words, it’s not enough to simply list your business on a local directory and then sit back and wait for people to walk in your door. The key is to get people talking about your business, and the best way to do that is to engage with them. You can do that with your social media accounts as well as the latest tool in the local business owners took belt.
When you log onto FindUsLocal.com, you’ll see a comment section on each of the business listings there. That section is one of the best ways to boost your online rankings so you can be seen. Here’s how it works: consumers have the ability to leave real time comments about your business, which will be seen by everyone from your community who visits the local business directory. And as a business owner, you have the opportunity to respond to those comments, which will spur on the conversation. For example, if someone leaves a comment complaining that you didn’t have the right selection of products, you can respond by apologizing and asking for suggestions. Or is someone leaves a complimentary comment, you can thank them publicly. Either way, the comments left by you and your customers will create an online conversation that will not only get the attention of other people from your city or town, but also the search engine spiders, which will boost your online visibility.
As you can see, the new local marketplace is full of opportunity, but it requires local business owners to think differently when it comes to attracting new business. You can no longer rely on old school methods like the phone book or local advertising. These days, your number one goal should be to put your business in front of people who look online to find local shops, restaurants, and service businesses. And listing your business on a local business directory is the best way to accomplish that. Have you listed your business yet? If not, head on over to FindUsLocal.com and take the first important step in being found online.