How can brick and mortar businesses compete in the digital age?

Despite the massive success of e-commerce sites, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that online sales only claim a small percentage of total sales—approximately 7%. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering that brick and mortar businesses have distinct advantages over e-commerce such as immediacy, street credibility, and the option to test a product before making the financial commitment. That being said, there’s also no denying that e-commerce has its strengths, including fewer limitations on supply and reach.

By Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 3.26.22 PMengaging more heavily in digital marketing practices, brick and mortar businesses can also make headway from an online perspective. Data suggests that 81% of consumers researched a product online before buying, and 60% used a search engine, which means having a digital presence is key to customer acquisition. Small businesses also need to remain engaged with their customers so they can build long-lasting relationships to keep them coming back, driving client retention.

To this end, technologies like Signpost become the key difference between profitable and unprofitable local businesses, because they can automate much of the process of generating a digital footprint, capturing customer data, and engaging with customers.

It’s also important for brick and mortar businesses to leverage offline resources as well. These include: Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), and local universities or chambers of commerce.

In short, although e-commerce is certainly on the rise, smart brick and mortar business owners will not only survive, but thrive, by leveraging the distinct advantages they already have, while using technology wisely to compete online.

To get a comprehensive look at how local business can succeed in today’s retail & services landscape, click here to download Signpost’s new eBook, “The Future of Brick and Mortar Business.”

*Supporting data noted in The Future of Brick and Mortar eBook