Yeah, we all know the words, the companies. One, a site that started out selling books and now seemingly rules the world. And the other, a bartering and selling service between mostly consumers, rivaled by nearly nobody.
As a small feed store (or any local business for that matter), this is what we are up against. Jeff Bezos and his team of thousands, marketing and advertising better than probably anyone else, with nearly unbeatable prices. And normal consumers being able to barter and auction off items in real time, online.
So as a small business what do we do to compete with this potential consumer product monopoly. The answer is… We are still trying to figure it out.
As a small business we do know for a fact that, at this point, we can offer at least one thing that these online businesses cannot.
What does this mean exactly?
I’m glad you asked.
So as a small business we must now work to bring an experience to every customer in order to bring that customer back to our establishment. Otherwise, why not just order it online. This being said, think about it. How many places have you never returned to because of a bad experience? And vice versa. How many places do you continually return to because of great experiences? Experiences can be many things. Great informative interaction with an employee, fun environment, destination-like surroundings, great atmosphere for your children, etc. But if not one or all of these boxes are checked, it is easy to say “I’m never going back there again. I can just order this online.”
So maybe instead of giving up on all small businesses, search for the place that gives you and your family an experience that you look forward to when purchasing anything from it. It doesn't have to be a drag to take your kids to the store and force them to walk through the aisles with you.
Other than an experience, there is maybe only one other thing that can make a small business stand out and strive.
Real People Serving Real People in Real Time
A local feed store or small business can still offer that face to face interaction that all humans need. Educated answers to your questions on the spot without having to wait for an email reply, and a genuine interaction with another human being, just like yourself.
So find a business that brings value to you, can provide you with the knowledge of your products that you need, and a give you a good shopping experience throughout.
Now, I do understand the convenience of online services such as an Amazon or Ebay and I am an avid user of these services and sites as well. But, if you can help your community and local businesses out by purchasing goods through them, I guarantee you will see the return in the future that you will never see from these online services. (read our Previous Blog Post to learn more about this)
I’m not saying to stop buying online altogether because I am not naive enough to believe this can happen. But I am saying, help your brother, neighbor, friendly neighborhood businessman out, and maybe think about a purchase from him before you swipe right and buy now.