Build a Successful Online Local Business

For the past few years, local business has found the going tough as larger businesses increased their penetration into tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Not only are larger businesses able to provide products at cheaper rates, they are also able to provide greater choice in products and payment/ delivery options. Now with larger businesses increasingly establishing their presence online, it is bound to get even tougher for small and local businesses to attract customers and stay in the competition. Here are some tips that small businesses can use to hold their own against larger businesses and keep themselves in the running.

Establish An Online Local Business Presence
All large businesses tend to have an online presence. This could be in the form of a website, social media accounts, email based newsletters and so on. This online presence allows them to easily connect with their customers to receive feedback and products and services. It is also a good means for promotions and marketing activities.

A recent survey found that more than 35% of purchase decisions made by consumers were influenced by social media. Another study found that more than 40% of social media users check out product reviews and likes on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels before making a purchase. Thus the power of social media cannot be underestimated and marketing techniques today must factor in social media. Some firms use analytics to determine consumer sentiments based on social media feeds. They then use these insights to make further decisions on products and service. While it can be difficult for small businesses to match this level of online engagement, they can at the very least maintain a website and social media accounts.

Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, more people now access the net via mobile devices than browsers. Hence you must also ensure your websites are accessible on mobile devices. Consider building mobile apps if it fits into your budget. Also, more and more consumers are using mobile payments. Make sure you support the latest payment options.

Personalised Messages
Earlier it was common to send out bulk emails for promotions and offers to customers. Today there is a shift from this method towards more personalized mailing to customers based on their preferences, likes and dislikes. Whereas larger firms have to rely on data and analytics to understand their customers and their preferences, small and local businesses are usually more aware and connected with their customers. They can use this information to their advantage to provide more personalized services that can help prevent their customers from moving over to larger businesses.

Thus local businesses can stay on top of their game by embracing digitization and performing the due diligence needed to build and sustain an online presence.

About the Author: Firoz Patel

In 2005, I founded AlertPay Inc. – a versatile and globally-used online payments solution. As Chief Executive Officer, I directed and oversaw the entire operations of the organization. I have successfully brokered the acquisition of AlertPay's strategic assets by UK-based MH Pillars.

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