In today’s hyper-connected world where you don’t have to get off your couch to shop and everything you order can reach your door within hours, small brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to find ways to survive.
As people were stuck inside during the pandemic, they discovered online shopping is just as good, if not better, as in-person shopping. Plus, it’s a lot more convenient and you have access to a wider selection of items when you shop online.
The statistics also support the idea that more people choose shopping online over going to a brick-and-mortar store, so there’s no wonder the big brands are quickly making the switch and closing their real-life stores.
Some may think that, if a big brand closes their doors in a neighborhood or a mall, this can only mean smaller stores will have a lot more customers to handle. However, this is a misconception since this means fewer people will be stopping by (less foot traffic in the area).
Many small brick-and-mortar retailers act as satellites of big brand stores and try to sell products that could interest the brand's target audience. But, when the brand leaves, it also takes its audience with it, which leaves small businesses stranded.
Furthermore, the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, as analysts predict that up to 50,000 big-name stores will close their doors over the next five years. The situation is even more dire for small retailers located in malls, where anchor stores are the main attraction points, especially for younger generations. If these leave (and they do), the malls will turn into big, empty buildings, with a few small stores here and there paying overpriced rent for a space that doesn’t bring people inside.
So, does this mean small businesses should do the same thing? Is there no hope left for the small guys who want to continue with the brick-and-mortar format? As it turns out, big guys leaving could be a blessing in disguise, for the right businessmen and women out there.
Today’s businesses must learn to adjust and find ways to improve - this is the only way to survive and thrive. So, why not change your point of view when it comes to anchor stores closing down?
For instance, even if a big name leaves, this doesn’t mean the space will stay vacant forever. There are many other retailers happy to take over or move into a bigger space. So, before falling into despair, why not do a bit of research and see if the space next door is still vacant? You can use a platform like Openings24 to stay up-to-date with Grand Openings in the US and check if any other big brand has an interest in your area.
Sure, this may mean you’ll have to switch things up a bit, especially if your business model was based on the previous brand’s.
There’s no way around it - if your store doesn’t have an online presence, it’s like you don’t exist for half of your target audience (maybe even more). So why not try to spice things up?
You don’t have to sell anything online, but you do need to learn how to sell your brand on social media and other similar channels. It’s also a good idea to take a peek at your direct competitors and see how they’re attracting people inside the store.
Overall, shoppers still miss the option to touch and feel the products or enjoy an immersive experience in a well-designed store.
Small retailers may have a few challenges lined up ahead, but those who will learn how to adapt and innovate have a promising future.