For some reason, many small localized businesses don’t showcase all their inventory on their website. For the life of me I can’t understand why? Even if you don’t want to attract national and international sales, your local customers also are likely to browse through your inventory and if they like something they can hop into their car and come over to your store and try it out / look at it.
The only people who have really taken this to heart are car dealers and they post everything to every site that will allow them to list. But the rest – I can’t explain it.
The national chains get it but the local ones don’t. Try to find an oil change coupon. You will only find coupons by the chains. Even if you know the locals website, you will not find anything updated.
I once printed a coupon and took it to the store and the lady said ‘Oh that’s a very old coupon. It’s no longer valid. We don’t update our website’. I simply left.
Try scheduling routine maintenance with a local car mechanic through his non-existing or barely existing website. That’s why busy people go with the chains even when the want to patronize local businesses – saves them time.
And almost nobody uses a CRM. They don’t capture any customer data.
If it’s raining, the restaurant owner says ‘it will be slow today’. It doesn’t have to be. If you have been encouraging customers to give you their email or Twitter or other social contacts, you could have sent out a post / tweet about special on soup with a picture of a hot and steaming bowl. Don’t you think that will fill up your restaurant?
You may say ‘I am not computer savvy’. Ok. So outsource it. We have a very busy realtor as one of our clients. She does not update her website herself even though she can. She simply takes the pictures, the rest of the particulars and emails it to us. We upload it to her website. When a property is closed, she sends a short email and we mark the property ‘Sold’.
Learn from the old street vendors. They are almost non-existent in developed countries but they still thrive in developing countries. What is their mantra? You cannot come to them – no problem – they will come to you. In the modern world, you visit your customers through your website and your social presence.
Being small doesn’t have to mean being ignorant.