Folks, brick and mortar retail and especially “big box” is dying. Cities and towns are putting the brakes on new big box developments, and even developers are starting to take pause. This doesn’t mean Target is going out of business, but it does mean that consumers are finding new personalized options for consumerism. What it does say is the there is an incredible opportunity for small business and online business for many years to come and building brand equity will be more critical than ever.
Retail is changing
About five years ago, I was driving on a long stretch of highway between Phoenix and Las Vegas. I remember seeing a massive big-box retail shopping center being built. I couldn’t believe they were building a huge shopping center because I know it would be a massive paintball center or trade school in 10 years” – I have 5 years left on my prediction, and I am betting the under.
Its no secret, retail is moving online and becoming more personalized and local.
Small business is quick and nimble
This change in consumer behavior to online and local is a blessing for the “Mom and Pop” or specialty store in your town. The small business retailer or service provider will make a killing during this evolution, and the most successful will embrace the online market and invest in digital branding.
Consumers want personalization
What does that mean? It means that small retailers can create a unique buying experience both in person and online. The store down the street can give us something we can’t find in a Fry’s Marketplace. They give us the genuine handshake or hug. They know my name. They are interested in my experience and me. Even online, we can connect. Personalized emails, maybe a video of the family that runs the store. These are the difference makers. As a matter of fact, going directly to market can cut out the big box altogether possibly saving the customer money or effort.
The small business owner can and will flourish because they can create a brand experience that is genuine and personal. But first, let’s consider this and then execute a plan.
Small business should consider three things:
- Find our niche: Ask, what is my unique value proposition? – write four or five key reasons people choose our business. Then ask a friend.
- Find who LOVES our business, with a capital L. These are your advocates – ask them why they love your company and write it down.
- Evaluate how you are sharing this story with the world.
This is BRAND IDENTITY and the story our customer desperately wants to know. We need to understand, how does your business make them feel and does it solve their problem? More importantly, did we create an experience?
Tell your story and if you want help building your brand identity and digital footprint connect with us online. We are here to help.
Mark Stewart, Founder, Concept2Completion – Modern Branding for the Digital Age