3 Strategic Steps That Local Businesses Should Take To Attract More Customers
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Gone are the days when big brands occupied a special place in the consumer market in terms of brand value and face. That is because going local has become the new trend and a large number of customers today choose to prefer locally manufactured products than one of those brands that has got a big name labeled on it. But it is not me who puts forth such a hypothesis. Rather it is a hypothesis that is completely based on true facts.
According to a national survey conducted by the Sage North America, about 75% of the businesses reported having local customers occupying more than half of their consumer base, while one third of the businesses have the local community occupying their entire consumer base. Quite interestingly, the most popular promotional mediums practiced by these businesses are – email and social media marketing. In a nutshell, people choose local over big brands even when it means shopping online.
But why so? Because it is more than just product value or a pretty brand face. Today customers are searching for more familiarity and authenticity for becoming brand loyal, which they find in local business communities mostly.
Speaking on the context of how localization influences your product brand build-up, here is how a careful study of the consumer market local taste buds had Kraft Foods win over the Chinese hearts.
It all started with the company trying to reach the Asian market to sell their most popular cookie brand Oreo, which already had a dominant position in the US market. However, contrary to their expected anticipation, the 1996 launch campaign in the Chinese market did not go out well. This led the team to even consider pulling out from the market altogether. However, in 2005 they decided to study the regional community in order to understand why their campaign had failed to make it big in the Chinese market, in contrast to the American market where even one of its most popular advertisement slogans rhymed Oreo as ‘America’s Best Loved Cookie’.
What they found out was that, historically the Chinese were not so fond of eating cookies. Though they were good with contrasting flavors of sweet and bitter, they did not like the taste of Oreo for it was too bitter and too sweet for them. Both the taste and the shape of the cookie were to the consumers a bit alien and besides, buying a pack of 14 Oreos for 72 cents was considered to be too expensive for the ‘value conscious’ Chinese.
Taking this research based knowledge into account, what they did was formulate a more modified recipe that was more chocolaty and less creamy. The brand developed around 20 prototypes of the product, which now had less amount of sugar content in it. They tested it on the Chinese consumers and even brought out different packages, of which also included smaller sized packs sold at the price of 29 cents. The result had a positive impact and in 2006, Kraft introduced a new Oreo brand into the Chinese market that in no way resembled its parent product. Today Oreo is a bestselling cookie brand in the country and the company even went ahead to introduce new flavors like green tea ice cream and double fruit into the Chinese market.
Localization is a big deal and with small businesses now embracing advanced technologies into their goody bags, they now stand at par with the big brands.
Which Factors Make Local Businesses Highly Competitive In the Consumer Market?
- Local marketers have a better idea of what is the regional preference of the consumer market
- Convenience is a big factor and having a local shop deliver service means cutting off the time and cost that is usually taken to ship a particular product
- A local market is more trustworthy and is quick to act when it comes to listening to regional clients better
- Quick delivery of customer service in case something goes wrong with a particular product
- Reliable product reviews because these are evaluations posted by your neighbors and the people with whom you can be familiar with
- Open competitiveness with regional businesses leads to comparatively better price options
How do you want to attract more customers to your local businesses?
The above scenario and the possibilities presented to you brings out a logical reason why local businesses are thriving to exist on the same platform enjoyed by the big brands, in order to become a business boom. While the scope of growth is high, chances of picking up the right strategies becomes rare and confusing. Which approach would make your small business attract more customers is the current question of many entrepreneurs right now.
Here are some of the suggested actions that local businesses might be interested to have a look at, in order to attract more customers
1. Registration at a reputed and advanced online directory
You have heard of popular online directories like Google, Yahoo, Bing or even Yelp. Well, it’s good to get your business listed here but the problem is that these are also the places where the big players are gambling for the big chance. It’s natural that clients who come across reputed brand names would be far more interested to drop their money there, without even recognizing the fact that there is a local store within their territory that can deliver the same quality results with services that are cost effective.
So, while registering your business in these big platforms is good in the long run, what you need to primarily focus on is looking for places where your local business can stand out prominently. Go for online directories that are dedicated to small and medium scale businesses, like Vintelli for example, where entrepreneurs invest money not only for targeted business listing but also to analyze their daily online activities on multiple platforms (like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) using a single operating dashboard.
2. Seek for authentic customer reviews for your business
People trust people, that is how the consumer behavior turns out to be. If customer A is seen to be immensely satisfied with your product, customer B would not show even the slightest hesitation to go for the product. Besides, speaking on behalf of the authorities who are experts in this field like Nielson Global Trust in Advertising Survey, market analysis shows 70% of the consumers are reported to have trusted online reviews first before purchasing something.
Good reviews not only make a good impression but they play the role of imbibing a sense of trust full of positive vibes that will help your business thrive over others. Again if you have specialized tools, you can stream out client reviews posted on different places; all to a single business page where viewers can look into when they search for information to cross reference. Since I am not aware of any other names, I place Vintelli as an example once more.
3. Invest More In Your Digital Presence
Spending your money on your digital presence is not being spendthrift at all. Having a business website is half the job done. Customers nowadays are quick enough to form their individual image of your brand from your digital presence. What you need now are factors like social media and mobile existence that deliver information on a widespread basis for a faster impact.
Recent reports suggest mobile usage to penetrate population behavior by 73% on a global scale. With that said, there is no better way to conclude this point than by putting down the statement that customers seek information faster and you have got to catch up with that or else somebody else will grab that seat before you do.
There is no denying the fact that small businesses are growing more savvier and innovative to strengthen their existence and are no way lagging anywhere behind. The current market scenario is expected to give larger businesses a hard time soon.
Thomas Miller is the senior most marketing analyst and advisor at Vintelli, a smart business directory for online listing. He is also a part time Web Consultant at B3NET Bio, a leading life science digital marketing agency. His 9 years of expertise in online marketing enables him to serve both B2C and B2B communities with better guidance.
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