Do Smaller Stores Have a Bigger Hurdle to Jump Online?


So I’ve just gotten back from speaking at JCK Las Vegas, and I can’t stop thinking about a comment one of the participants in a Fireside Chat on Mobile Marketing had to say. We were talking about mobile commerce, and how luxury customers are increasingly comfortable shopping online, when she pointed out that while well-known brands have no problem attracting customer attention, smaller stores have a bigger hurdle to jump.

On one hand, she’s absolutely right. No matter what industry you’re in, there are some dominant brands who have name recognition and a legacy that sets them apart from everyone else. Customers seek out these brands specifically because they’ve heard of them and they want to have a relationship with them. Harley-Davidson is familiar to everyone who ever thought of riding a motorcycle in a way that Bob’s Bike Shop never will be.

However, the bar to attracting customer attention doesn’t stay the same height all of the time. When we talk about this in terms of mobile commerce, it’s important to understand the many types of customer behaviors that are going on. Some of your mobile shoppers are just browsing. They’ll happily spend time looking at all the gorgeous motorcycles Harley-Davidson has available and learning about what the brand has coming next. The bar is high, and well-established brands do have the advantage.

The bar drops, however, when the mobile browser becomes the mobile shopper. When there’s an intent to purchase, we see behaviors change. Searches become much more focused, with specific inquiries clustering around three key points: the availability of products locally, hours of operation, and directions to the relevant nearby business. It is here that the bar becomes much lower. Small businesses don’t have to outperform the dominant brands in their space: they need to be the best in their geographic market. Is this easy? Of course not – but it is an attainable goal. Every time you attract and convert a new customer, you’ve cleared a hurdle.  You can absolutely build your business clearing these smaller hurdles consistently – so don’t count yourself out of the race just yet!

Do Smaller Stores Have a Bigger Hurdle to Jump Online?
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Do Smaller Stores Have a Bigger Hurdle to Jump Online?
Name brands can often be dominant in the world of e-commerce. However, this doesn't mean that your small business' online store is doomed.

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