There was a time when a photo campaign like the one above would be spread across brick and mortar store fronts from coast to coast. I mean, they definitely still are, but surely at a cost. How can a small business afford to pay their retailers across the country for ad space in their stores when they barely have enough liquid cash to pay for inventory?
In the startup environment, marketing dollars are tough to come by. In most cases, it's a pretty ruthless learning curve of spending before understanding your target market and optimizing your marketing dollars efficiently. This is why social media target marketing has become so popular. For us (Soulstice Swim) focusing on creating an avid brand following via social channels has worked best. We want our clients to know who we are, what we represent as a business. The way we do that is by providing them with relevant, relatable, inspiring content.
Woooah! Sorry to go on a rant about marketing there. My point is -- we are living in a crazy time. There is literally no better time to start a business than now (not yesterday, not tomorrow...NOW!). Platforms like Shopify are making the dream of starting a business a very achievable reality, not to mention making it substantially easier (and cheaper) for the original brick and mortars to come online and grow their clientele from local to global. Local retail stores can now open their doors to a global marketplace that they would have never had the opportunity to tap into just a few years ago. I was listening to a show on CBC radio yesterday that said, "In 2017, 40% of all goods sold in the U.S were sold online and that number is set to increase to 50% by 2020." Thats insane! Amazon has apparently acquired over 77 million sqft of commercial warehouse space around the world to reduce their delivery times within downtown and suburban areas. I would say that along with their acquisition of Wholefoods, this is a very clear representation of the direction that online purchasing (eCommerce) is headed in.
Enough about Amazon! Back to Shopify. Since I became a member in May 2015, the amount of registered Shopify merchants has increased by over 500%. For me, this is by far the biggest indication of the influence that eCommerce is having on the way consumers shop and the way merchants have adapted to doing business. This is the future and we are part of it. It's all happening now, and that's what's so fascinating and motivating at the same time.
My favourite part about running an eCommerce store is that I'm constantly forced to evolve and adapt to my clientele, which in turn makes me a better, more understanding merchant. I want to want what my client wants, and that forces me to work harder to create more relevant content or offer them free shipping, for example... because you know what? I hate paying for shipping too. The evolution continues, and it's that constant momentum that motivates me as a merchant to give my clients an experience that they can relate to, or a community that they can feel part of. That is by far the hardest and easiest part of selling products online.
All this to say...I'm excited. Retail, by no means is dead. It's just online...is your business?