so I run a modest retail business and I'm suffering badly from online competition
you might think "they just have lower costs, so they win", but here's what I see every day
people come into my store, try my clothes on, take photo's of EVERYTHING, the shop the clothes
then when they find something they like, they walk home and fed-ex it from china.
I bear the cost of maintaining the store, but I don't get the profit
I also have a real problem with protecting my advertisements, online operators will come into my store posing as customers, take photos of MY DISPLAYS, and use they to advertise their products online, often knock-offs
sometimes they are obvious, moving things around in the store to get better pictures, holding up their cards and signs in store to take photos
they have no shame, it's mostly asians who do it.
there seems to be little I can do, I tell them to leave the shop and they do; but I can't stop them, don't want to cause a disruption for patrons, and can't prosecute them because I can't track them.
and to make it even worse if I advertise online I have to provide the same prices in-store, I can't afford to charge online prices in-store, and if I lower prices online only I risk breaking strict double pricing advertising laws
Wow that sucks, OP. What do you sell?
If you're in a market which is prone to impulse buys (e.g. candy) maybe there's a way to entice consumers to buy immediately otherwise if it's more of a considered purchase maybe you could work on really being the friendly, helpful type that answers all their questions and differentiates themselves that way.
Otherwise I don't know what I'd do.
I'm in retail fashion, at the end of the day most sales are people browsing so we put most of our energy into making on the spot sales, but customers are on a spectrum when it comes to impassivity and we're loosing too many off the prudent end
at least my competition is like a swarm of bees, not a bear
it's lots of backyard operators mainly
the problem is they have no knowledge/regard for the law, they often pay no tax, employ bait advertising or other illegal sales tactics
they infringe copy-write like it's a sport
their new style of economy discourages investment and development, in the long run they make it impossible for businesses to be stable and build supply chains; we go back o having bazars
The Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in the Art of War says,
>Be like water. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
If you can't beat em, join em. Adapt, or else you'll become extinct.
Otherwise, if you cant adapt, if you can't be like water, enforce a "no cellphone, no camera allowed" rule at your store.
Put up a few signs stating that no photography of display is allowed.
Implement (don't advertise) a "price match" system, to where only if the customer can show you a live feed picture, not a screenshot, of the same exact item online for a cheaper price, you'll give it to them for that price. Let customers be aware if they mention seeing it online, but don't encourage them to search for it on their phone in hopes of finding a smaller price tag and an easy finesse.
Hire a web developer or graphic designer to add more appeal to your site and drive up the number of visitors. If your site if already nice, consider just adding newer or more diverse inventory. Try finding things that customers can't really get online as easily.
but some people post photos of my shop to facebook, which is a godsend
and if I match prices I turn over a loss/tiny profit, I'm too small to have an impact on the market
making a nice site is an expensive buisiness, mainaining it is a hastle, protecting it is a nightmare; and you just can't stand out online
I ended up just running a online catalog, no purchase options, no feedback, not even a contact option; it's all it was worth maintaing
I could, but my issue would be that I couldn't effectively compete online
there is just so much online, so many retailers, so little control over the marketspace
you can shell out cash to google, to advertisers and developers and end up nowhere
Well that sucks brah. I know retailers in my country are feeling the same way (Australia) since our in store prices are insane compared to overseas online ones. Lucky for them though lots of old people don't buy stuff online. Gonna be fucked when they die though. Oh well, thems the costs of globalisation. Grab a ticket and join the queue with the auto workers if you want to complain because retailers are hardly the first to get fucked by this shit.
part of the problem is a lack of trade protectionism
by allowing businesses that pay their workers fuck all, have no safety standards and no OHS to compete with us on even terms we directly undermine our way of life and support foreign exploitation
at the end of the day letting cheap cars from asia helped us because it allowed us to build stronger ties with asia, auto workers took one for the team
the internet is goint to die, it's already dying
when everything was free and open source it worked great, but now everyone wants to "own" things on line there is no way of protecting private property
the TPP will change everything, there will have to be an official internet police force to enforce copy-write and hacking violations, use will have to be tied to a fixed address, online sales will be taxed, more restrictive laws will need to be added to reduce policing costs
> making a nice site is an expensive buisiness
> mainaining it is a hastle
even more false
> protecting it is a nightmare
> and you just can't stand out online
if you are shit at SEO then yeah sure
do you know what the basis of a successful product is? GOOD MARKETING.
This is not the result of you losing customers to online competitors. Your business is just garbage for one reason or abother. How can I make such an absurd claim? Look at all the boutique fashion stores that are surviving and doing well. Internet retail has been huge for years anyway, likely much longer than for the time you've owned the store.
When they come into your store and fuck with your shit, offer to suck their dicks for $20 each. If you can manage at least five dicks per hour you'll be set. What I'm proposing is literally the only thing that can save your 1980s business model.
>Either evolve or die
pretty much this.
you are seeing the landscape change around you. you have even documented this change.
its up to you to figure out the solution.
>you have identified the problem
>solution = ?
>the internet is goint to die, it's already dying
>there will have to be an official internet police force