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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : August 20, 2014

How indie retailers fit into the online space

When most Americans think of shopping they think of the local mall and big box stores, but the Internet is bringing a resurgence of independent retailers back into play. Just where to these indie retailers fit in?

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: When most of us think about online retail, we're thinking of Amazon, Walmart or even JCPenney. Where do independent retailers fit in?

Jason Becker, RICS Software: Independent retailers may or may not fit into online. It really depends on the business model and growth plans of that independent retailer. Our most successful clients that do both brick and mortar and online selling have unique teams that manage their respective areas of the business. While Amazon and Walmart are certainly among the top retail sites visited in the US with 164 and 56 Million Visitors during Q1 2014, respectively, there is still retail business to be won online. But, in order to win that business they have to be committed to the strategies needed to intercept the traffic from the online giants. Those strategies are called Online Marketing. If independent retailers are interested in online retail to generate a substantial amount of new business, they need to invest in Online Marketing Resources that will create a strategy to win relevant traffic for the products they sell online.

Kristina: With so many people shopping online or using websites to research before buying in-store, why are independents having such a hard time harnessing those dollars?

Jason: Independents that embrace showrooming, or the reverse, are going to be more successful than those who choose to ignore this practice. Acknowledging the practice exists, with the customer, is the first step to winning the sale. If you know your business is prone to shopping online/buy-in store, have that be one of the first questions asked. "Hello, Customer: Have you researched this show online? Tell me what you've found..."

Kristina: What else can indie's do to compete?

Jason: The next step is understanding what the product is selling for online. Some retailers choose to price match - others simply can't afford to price match. If you're in the latter camp, make sure you prove your cost when you are with the customer. What I mean by that is, if you're unable to discount because you're value proposition is hands on customer service...make sure the customer experiences that service. If you can't differentiate on cost, you have to be prepared to differentiate in something.

More from Jason and RICS tomorrow, including the traits independents need to succeed online.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips, ecommerce trends, retail tips, RICS Software, SMB tips

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