The way consumers spend their money today has as much to do with their age as their financial standing, according to the University of Missouri Extension (UME). As today’s younger consumer increasingly turns to the internet to make their spending decisions, that opens up a window of opportunity for small businesses.
We all know that big retail outlets have embraced the web as a selling channel, rolling out sites well-stocked with bells and whistles. But small businesses can successfully compete even without deep pockets and bells and whistles . Creating a blog, said Kathy Macomber, a business development specialist for UME, can enable small shops and service businesses to run on an equal footing with the big dogs.
“It would be very normal for a restaurateur to do a blog on food highlighting the part of their business that makes them unique,” Macomber said. “Providing useful information, like recipes or how to serve wine, is something people will see as valuable, and it will pique the interest of potential customers for the business.”
Blogs are also an invaluable source of customer feedback , she said. Nielsen Online says that access to feedback and ratings is one of the top 10 reasons people give for shopping online.
Small businesses need to take advantage of this to heighten their competitive advantage , Macomber said. This information can help a small business increase its value to consumers by tailoring the business to the needs of the consumer.
“It’s something the big retailers can’t do,” she said.
As proof, Macomber relates the oft-told saga in marketing about a local barbershop that began bleeding customers when a big chain salon moved in across the street and began advertising $6 haircuts. Rather than become embroiled in a zero-sum cost-cutting battle, the local shop marketed to its strength by putting up a sign that read, “We fix $6 haircuts.”
- 50 Big Ideas, Predictions and Trends for 2011 and Beyond
- 7 Ways Small Business Can Do More With Less
- 5 Ways Businesses Will Use Social Media in 2011
Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.