A long standing truism of retailing success is “location, location, location!” If you are in the right spot, you will make the sales . . . but not necessarily any more.
It used to be that location was everything. If you were situated in the right part of town, the right road, the right corner, in a specific shopping center or next to a certain retailer, then sales happened and all was well with the world. While location still remains relevant, it does so only up to a point.
But today, both malls and strip centers are struggling and high vacancy rates abound. With few exceptions, the location of your store can no longer guaranty business prosperity. The internet and online shopping have fundamentally changed how, where and why consumers shop for goods. The growing size and importance internet marketing simply cannot be underestimated or recognized.
There are thousands of very successful retailers on “the net” who are enjoying vast sales and all without a “location.”
The heretofore dependence on foot traffics and passersby has diminished. Customer counts for many retailers are dropping and the competition from online sellers is becoming more pronounced. This change in consumer buying habits has exacerbated both sales and profits.
Today, successful retailing does not require a really good location. Consider Amazon, which is wildly successful; yet they have no retail locations, and their sales are huge. Things have changed. The public loves ordering online and shopping any time day or night. The consumer does not have to travel to visit the retailer and shopping for competitve items and prices is pretty simple.
I acknowledge the fact that fishing consumers like to stare at the lures, wiggle the rods and turn the reel handles. But having done so, they are also likely to buy the product online after “testing” it in a retail store. Also bear in mind that as new and younger shoppers look for tackle, they are far more likely to shop on line versus trek to the store for what they want. Currently, that is the way of the world.
The truth is that a retailer can no longer solely depend upon location to generate sales. Online shopping is prevalent, growing and firmly rooted in consumer buying preferences. If your sales are not growing 10 percent to 15 percent a year, you should seriously evaluate your online presence as well as your merchandise mix. Don’t hope your online sales will grow, but rather make it grow!
Use of social websites and email marketing are critical to increasing your sales. And in doing so, you will find that your in store sales will grow as well. Additionally, cross-market with your vendors and/or Amazon.
The retail world is a changing and if you want to grow with it, move beyond just a reliance on your current location. Become an accomplished online purveyor as well as a retail store. In the end, you are likely to win on both accounts!