Physical and online stores (The Library: GO!)

My love with the library tends to be an on again off again one.  I go with my son, but as a devoted student it’s been a while since I’ve devoted myself to regularly going.  You don’t know what you have til it’s gone, and the library is definitely one of those things for me that once I get back into the swing of it I can’t believe it’s been so long since I browsed the shelves.

And this is the one thing that scares me about ‘print dying’.  It is nice to have everything you could possibly want at your fingertips, but, it’s also another truly amazing thing to have a lot of things at your finger tips.

Whenever I leave the library I’m carrying out a minimum of 3 books on subjects I’m somewhat interested in and may or may not read, but, for the 4 renewal cycles where they sit asking to be browsed, I’m constantly reminded of them.

The act of going and browsing for just 15 minutes usually yields that amount of books.  I’ll try to pick up a couple visual books to quickly flip through, maybe read random pages, but just ingesting the visual information allows me to pick up something new. Heck picking up art books has allowed me to hunt the artist on wikipedia and download all their public domain images, just from a 5 minute browse.

Which can tie into marketing.  Most companies are online, and that’s good.  It’s cheaper, it’s easier to stay there because there’s a store that’s always open and basically always staffed.  However what about that physical presence? Stores of the past are reminders of how excessive we could get, wandering through a best buy with so much open space now used for showrooming (basically, you go in there to check out a TV then you buy online).  CD racks with next to no music and hardly any movies, except for some collections and other big budget stuff.

But, you can browse.  You can see what’s out there, look, touch and emotionally get more invested.

It’s taken some time, but some stores are finally starting to treat their brick and mortar locations AS shipping centers.  Amazon has moved from exclusively online to open cashierless shops, and recently acquiring Whole Foods to basically have all the real estate they setup, use it as testing grounds and use it for Amazon Fresh, a place to store produce or buy it and ship it from the store.

Can you do that?  Maybe not to the scale of Amazon, but is there a small physical location you can have so your most devoted customers can come in and look at your products?  Even our small gallery in the Andersonville Galleria has been a nice anchor, with people who know us from online visiting the store and sending me selfies of them in front of the work.

It’s a nice addition, and if you can partner with someone or it doesn’t cost you too much, it might be nice to add a physical location.

Or, if you do have a physical location, when was the last time you upgraded it?  How about your website?  It’s easy to put your head in the sand to keep an out dated website and physical location, but consider new ways to look at both.  If it’s been a while look at rearranging your store, removing stuff that doesn’t sell and adding more products people are interested in.

What’s your biggest profit margin pieces?  Maybe focus on those for your webstore and keep the smaller products people can buy at Amazon off of your site, as they’re more of a nuisance and not really worth it for.  Or to look at them differently, can they be only add ons for the bigger profit pieces? Or, if they’re combined with 4 other similar but different things can you sell a package? Ie, if you’re an art store instead of selling 1 eraser sell an eraser with a pencil sharpener with pencils and a sketch pad?  As is business, the successful business person doesn’t grow roots into what made their business to begin with, they see what’s successful then pivot accordingly to what the current market is asking for.

Sure it’s difficult and more time consuming to keep track of an online and physical inventory, but it’s definitely worth it.  You don’t know exactly where your customers are so it makes sense to be where they’ll see you.  Get an idea as to what they’re buying and offer more of it.

Those bigger profit margin pieces?  We can help with a marketing strategy for those.  If you’re the expert we can help curate and design content to go in line with the material so you can be the online expert for those products or services.

To use the cliched apple analogy, you have to ‘think different’.  Sometimes it’s difficult to get a new perspective on a business we’ve been in for 20 years, but it’s definitely worth it to try.

If it takes a 30 min phone call with us to bring out new ideas, it could be worth it if it helps you find a new direction in your business.  Get in touch with us so we can start looking at new ways to transform your business.

(header Photo by Tamás Mészáros from Pexels)

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