Q: How can I compete with people who shop online for items that I sell in my store here locally?

A:  This is the million dollar question. How can I attract people to shop in my store as opposed to shopping online? In my opinion, there are three things that HAVE to happen in order for you to convert the online shopper to a check-out at your register:

1) You simply MUST advertise online. It won’t cut it to just put a small weekly print ad in the newspaper or run a few ads on radio. If you want to steal from the online shoppers, you have to be seen WHERE they are shopping…ONLINE! Run your digital ads promoting the personal touch of your customer service, your breadth and depth of product lines. Add targeting and search re-targeting to the mix and serve your ads with purpose, directly to the person who was specifically shopping online for the products you have here LOCALLY.

2) Give them a REASON to come in to see you. Toot your horn about your stellar customer service, brag about being able to help them shop for that hard-to-buy-for person and tell them that if you don’t have it in-store, you can get it quickly! Remind them that shopping locally means keeping dollars HERE in our community. Finally, give them a little extra incentive that actually pays off…like discounts on certain days (creating a sense of urgency) or create an event that drives traffic like an Open House with refreshments, holiday entertainment, etc.

3) Finally, the last element is FOLLOW-THRU. Above, I mentioned that you have to toot your horn about customer service or an ability to get them that custom gift or the item they need that you don’t currently have in stock. If you promise it…deliver it. Prepare your staff to go ABOVE AND BEYOND for your customers. Ensure a pleasant experience and they will never shop online for something you offer again, simply because they enjoyed their shopping experience with you.

If you follow these three rules…you’ll be headed in the right direction toward competing with e-Commerce. By the way, while 2 & 3 are basically up to you…I thought I should mention that I can help you with #1. Call me today and we’ll have your ads online TOMORROW.

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​cayla.hittmeier@lee.net | 217-421-6994


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