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With ecommerce, a store's location no longer limits its opportunity.
That doesn't only mean someone in New York can easily reach a customer in Los Angeles. It also means small businesses on main streets and in rural areas across America have access to the busiest metro areas.
A recent survey from Connected Commerce Council, which provides digital resources to small businesses, highlighted how ecommerce is being embraced in less populated areas. Of 1,000 small rural sellers surveyed, 57% said their most-used sales methods were online marketplaces and web stores. Ecommerce also makes up a bigger share of revenue for this group. Rural merchants get 23% of their revenue from online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, while the typical small seller get 17.5%.
There's no better time for this reminder to be delivered than the run-up to the holidays. Shoppers are getting their stores ready for peak season, and that means there is plenty of opportunity to grow through digital channels.
“Small businesses can succeed during the holidays by taking advantage of online sales opportunities, investing in digital advertising to reach customers cheaply, and using the powerful analytics companies like Amazon and Google provide to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck,” said Rob Retzlaff, 3C executive director, in a statement. “Maximizing your online presence and leveraging free and low-cost digital tools can be the difference between having a good holiday sales season and a great one.”
Here are five tips to reach more customers and maximize the holiday season from the Connected Commerce Council:
Tap into online markets and webstores
Setting up an online store and selling on marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and Walmart and web stores like Shopify are fast and easy ways to find new customers before the holiday rush. Rural small businesses are already leveraging e-commerce to sell their products far beyond their local areas. Check out 3C's recent roundtable, which hosted with tips from other small businesses on how to start selling on Amazon and making the most of it.
Investing in digital ads can help you reach more customers cheaply and at their convenience. They allow you to find potential customers who are more likely to love what you offer and purchase it as a gift for themselves or a loved one. Digital ads featuring holiday specials can bring people to your website to make purchases and offer small businesses an affordable way to expand their customer base.
A major benefit to using digital advertising is all the free data and analytics from platforms like Google. The data they provide can help you discover which ads work best for which audience, where to improve, and how to decrease conversion costs. Check out this tutorial on how to maximize web analytics.
Host a holiday event
People love to socialize and shop. If you’re a local store with a brick-and-mortar, trying out an in-person “Sip and Shop” may bring in new customers right in time for the holiday season! If you’re exclusively online, offer some early bird holiday discounts. Whatever you do – get it in before people get bogged down by holiday parties & Santa sales!
Find where to improve
Even small businesses that use all the incredible digital tools at their disposal can still improve their online presence. Did you know that 3C offers a digital assessment tool that can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as an online business? Using this tool will put you on a one-way street to sales.