Frontdoor Store w/Backdoor Sales
Many brick and mortar businesses are struggling, so in these changing times, every retail business should have a backdoor sales strategy.
What's coming in the FRONT of a store is the traditional traffic where you are at the mercy of what comes to you: foot traffic, construction, condition and visual appeal of the store, landlords, etc. so every store should also have a BACK DOOR plan for scalable commerce, taking advantage of their two supreme brick-and-mortar assets:
TRUST - Look in the eyes of your server and know whether you are dealing with someone who is looking out for you or looking to scam you. Online experiences can't touch this interaction (yet).
COMMUNITY - The place where everyone knows your name. You're welcome there. You know the owner, you see regulars. Cheers. Difficult to replicate online.
These two unique aspects of a store are your true competitive advantage that few online stores can rival. The ultimate setup is an online offering combined with a local, trusting presence. (I believe it is one reason why Amazon's Whole Foods strategy is much smarter than their Amazon Fresh direct-delivery approach. It gives them a giant, local footprint to host pickup lockers, customer service, and the other pieces missing from a .com experience.
But you don't have to be big to make this strategy work for you. If you have a brick and mortar store, ask yourself, what can be shipped out of our backdoor? Say you are a kitchen goods retailer. Package your most popular items that people buy together and wrap them into gift baskets during the holiday season.
If you aren't interested in the labor and shipping, look into straight up commerce sites. Start with Amazon Marketplace or locate the niche commerce web site within your industry. Many other .coms will offer centralized storefronts like Shopify and Etsy. Others, like Commission Junction, offers substantial affiliate rewards for customer orders that you send through them and your involvement is minimal.
Your value is in the trust and local relationships you've developed face-to-face, locally -- a significant value to .coms. Local is where it's at and they are interested in what you offer!
Start out setting a goal to sell 20% of your revenues from the back door this year and 40% next year. It's possible!
Whether you are creatively packaging and shipping directly or selling and influencing purchases online, grab your reward, it can change your business in these changing times.