As a stand-alone store, it can be hard to shine in the community the same way a well-known corporate chain store does. In our case, we have to be a great deal more creative when it comes to forming a customer following and making a mark in the community, especially in areas that are growing so rapidly in business and culture. When the odds are against you and your brick-and-mortar store and it seems like other businesses are advancing without you, here are some tips for staying involved and keeping your community interested:
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
A fantastic way to get involved in your community is to open your arms and welcome people in by hosting a creative and exciting event. It may be something completely new to you, possibly an intimidating idea, but event coordination is an excellent way to reach out. Trying something new and hosting an event (of any kind) makes your location known to those who may have never heard of you, and it offers an ideal destination for family activities. Creating environments in which customers are encouraged to participate, have fun, and get to know your employees will inevitably lead to good reviews and good relationships. People will associate your location with happy memories and subsequently will want to share those good vibes with friends and family. We often get lost in the cold, hard side of business and forget that the most important factor is the community you form with your customers (because where would we be without them?). The warm and genuine human relationships are what make it possible to build a friendly and loyal base of customers, and hosting fun events is an excellent way to initiate these kinds of bonds and stay active in the community.
Another way to remain current in the community is to get to know your fellow comrades in business and join forces to create an even larger web of customers. Rather than pitting yourself against the small business down the road, why not offer a friendly hello, get to know their story, and work together to bring business through both doors? In our growing society of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores need to link arms and march bravely into the future by sharing their knowledge and offering a helping hand to a fellow neighbor. Putting your heads together to create joint marketing ventures (such as offering discounts if customers shop at both locations) is an excellent way to get involved and also to show your customers you are dedicated to the growth of the community.
Lend a Helping Hand
Perhaps one of the most essential ways to get involved in your community is to reach out in whatever way you can to those in need. A charitable donation can go a very long way with regard to relationships formed and the reputation of your business. It is important to be kind but cautious when choosing who/where to donate to. Obviously you can’t donate to everyone, but sometimes a small discount or a literal helping hand with a project can go much farther than anything of monetary value. Donating your time and your efforts can be just as worthy to someone as free product or a big cheque, and it also lends itself easier to that warm and genuine human connection that will help your business succeed in the long run.
Ultimately, it is your human nature that will aid you and your business in getting involved in the community around you. There is a lot of give and take in business, and the more you dedicate to your customers, neighbors, and those in need, the more you will receive back in spades in the form of customers, marketing, recommendations, and lasting relationships. So be loud, proud, and stand out in the crowd! Your success, as well as that of your brick-and-mortar store and your community of followers, is worth the effort!
Retail Store Manager