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Article: Mom and Pop Small Business Online Tactics


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Mom and Pop Small Business Online Tactics.

Updated: 3 November 2008 

Every net entrepreneur wishes to be successful in their online merchant activities. If you go through the following article we are sure success will surely come.

If you are one of those who would like to start immediately we at least recommend your reading the bottom line to begin with!

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Product's Dimensional Parameters Are Important

The world is full of merchants - both online and retail/wholesale/middle person - and the competition is fierce. The major large merchant establishments or stores like Walmart and K-Mart boast of a large product range that can be generalized and such retailing helps those who are looking for a little of everything! However, these stores do not have a significant quantity of specific commodities that many people look for and expect to find in one place. The phenomenon runs like this: Large establishments have a little of everything but not a lot of a specific type of product. The three-dimensional visualization thereby endorses the phrase that their product range is miles wide but only a few inches deep!

Therefore there is a tremendous scope of the proverbial "Mom & Pop" Stores that cater to the specific needs of the neighborhood shopper!

What Strategies or Tactics the Mom &Pop Stores should adopt for Success?

The very first step should be to look at your local market opportunity by analyzing what is in demand in your neighborhood, town or city, and then embark on the ambitious plan of marketing your wares on a national and international basis. When the Mom and Pop Stores target the local community's organizational buying behavior it becomes understandable to achieve initial success. This success then leads to wider achievement on national and global scene!

The beginning of an Online Mom & Pop Store can bring out an infectious awareness that propagates throughout the local community and spreads effectively over the Internet - both through "word of mouth" as well as online testimonials. How is this possible? The successful Mom and Pop Stores can do a lot of things to achieve prominence in catering to the needs of the common person and far outweigh the strategies that the "Big Daddy" Stores can adapt for capturing the niche market in today's world. Let us look at a few significant facts to illustrate this point:

A typical Mom & Pop Store retails niche articles or services that has no real competition from the large organized super stores but may have a few competitors in the form of other similar ventures. These niche stores do have an edge over the Superstores since they retail many articles in their specialization areas and since their overheads can be quite low in online retailing the price advantage and service extensibility can be quite high. This is a distinctive plus point for Mom and Pop Stores.

In order to realize the tremendous impact of Mom and Pop type of Stores one can visit the following websites and evaluate the ease with which these web stores operate. Their clientele is steadily increasing while the operations become more and more refined with a constant entry of new niche products:

Each of the above niche small stores keeps a large variety of items rationalized to satisfy the common shopper on the Internet. A visit to the above web stores will justify the statements we have so far made for Mom and Pop Stores!

What are the Advantages of "Mom and Pop" Stores?

Remember that these Mom and Pop stores are individual ventures and thereby open on a 24/7/365 basis! Due to the nature of their composition, mission, and low overheads the Mom and Pop retail system can provide better and more personalized service to their clients. It is so much more comforting to be greeted and catered by "Mom" or "Pop" personally attending to your needs - even online! Is it not great to see this personalized approach than reading a welcome note from a digitally signed Public Relations person? Everyone appreciates the personal approach and friendly warm feeling of a salesperson. This is especially true if someone you can relate to in yourself is marketing your niche item. The Mom and Pop Store owners are themselves the sales persons and thereby in full command of how and what they wish to sell to the demanding buyer. Nothing about the niche Store is "cold" and all that you experience is the warmth of a family person who knows what you want or need. Why then should people not patronize a Mom and Pop Store?

One of the important criteria that people cultivate is their attraction to community store activity. It has many advantages and is also a vantage point of friendly discussions or in the case of offline Stores - friendly get together! Take the example of the global popularity of collecting Old Time Radio (OTR) programs. This source not only offers great collections and albums or singles but also serves as a forum for many related items linked to the radio programs of yesteryears. No matter where you are the online OTR website can be your one-stop plaza for your favorite radio transmission! All other niches operate in a similar way with a humble but effective beginning and a rapid acceptance by community as well as national/global residents.

The Next Step - eCommerce for Mom and Pop Online Store

These are some of the considerations you must look at to be a successful eCommerce website:

Little knowledge is a dangerous thing - the proverb is still valid and you must grasp the concepts of "online business" in the right way by reading the best sources available on Internet.

A primary Market Research is very essential in establishing the right product or service line and making this your niche.

To be competitive is good but not to copy the effort of others. Originality is always appreciated and can take you a long way into the realm of successful net entrepreneurs. The so called "canned look" in websites is easy to host but its effect on the community crowd or potential clientele can be disastrous! Do not be one amongst thousands - be one or first among equals.

One of the most important aspects is that the Mom and Pop Stores and your website must not appear to be only selling those niche products. Sales with service is as important as "sales after service" in the marketing field and if you introduce this warmth in your venture, the success rate becomes nearly 100 percent! Here are few ideas that could be used to enhance your eCommerce adventure:

  • Adding historical review of your niche and topping this up with technical details like users manual or specific instructions help in promoting the product line. If you sell lawn mowers, adding user tips of how to mow a lawn best or maintain your valuable gardening tool works wonders for online website stores.
  • All niche articles whether they are stamps, books, coins, entertainment products or pet and pet care items need extra service to compete with the large "fish" in the business. Creating a forum where people discuss their experiences always helps in making your Mom and Pop Store more popular.
  • Adding a section for useful Articles adds to the competitiveness of your website and online store.

The crux of the business therefore lies in being a resource point and not merely a simple web shop or store.

Web designing is an art as well as a science. In this context not only are graphical illustrations important but also the content writing. Perhaps it is useful to survey the best combination in web design companies before you engage one agency to handle your website. There are many agents who out source the jobs assigned by their clients and this can sometimes cause problems of understanding your requirements. If out sourcing is  necessary (for economics or specialty reasons) it is wise to know the details of the out sourced company. In short, choose your web design agency carefully.

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Sidebar:

The .com revolution in the early days of the Internet gave us a lot of freebies with paid products. This was essential to promote your niche on the World Wide Web. Overheads like free services or items have reduced now as it was cutting into a businesses  margins or profits. In spite of this fact it is good to include services or products that may act as "pre-sellers"to your main niche line - without sounding as if you were really giving them away for free!

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Slow & Steady Wins You the Mom & Pop Online Store!

There is no magical formula or a magic cauldron that will get you success in one day! Online stores and new websites need to propagate across the Internet before they become productive. There may be hundreds of sources that promise a quick or instant inclusion in the Search Engines that guide the Internet surfer to various websites. My experience is that these sources or agencies cannot be that effective though they claim a lot. Additionally, there are many "free for all" or FFA websites that promise you the stars by giving you a web page that is nothing but an agglomeration of various advertisements. Your advertisement is a drop in the ocean and can go unnoticed completely!

The free links websites also result in a high spam mail rate that flood your inbox with offers that may or may not have any relevance to your particular niche. In spite of these claims you do not see your website gain that popularity or traffic that will put your online Mom and Pop Store on the first search page of the Search Engines. Moreover the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is totally missed out in these free links websites. With the advent of more sophisticated monitoring services of the major search engines a FFA site is easily recognized and you could be penalized for such links.

What then can be done for scoring high on the Search Engines and driving reasonable traffic to your niche store?

Here are a few guidelines that will help you in achieving a lucrative market penetration in those articles retailed by you:

  • A niche retail store like your Mom and Pop Online Store can focus the keyword or Meta parameters much more easily than large stores since your product range is highly specific. This fact can be well managed if you understand the basic working of the Search Engines and it is wise to study some of the basic algorithms used by these SE's.
  • Preparing and distributing visiting cards with your signature helps in promoting the niche website through the medium of email campaigns, Ezines and flyers etc.
  • Local advertising on radio and local newspapers helps in driving traffic.
  • The common practice of reciprocal linking to other websites of relevance can result in a better ranking with the search engines.
  • The niche you have decided to market can be linked to several associations or reputed forums in order to provide a free service to the clients who can discuss and share their concerns with others. This will help you in popularizing your website and building great content with keywords of relevance.
  • Targeted traffic is what one should be aiming at and this depends on the focus of your niche. A Mom and Pop Store generally benefits from a narrow high margin niche product that brings in only such a targeted audience. In such cases the general visitor is avoided as these may only browse through the website without really caring for the products you retail.
  • Many local and national/global organizations can help you in promoting your product if there is a two-way coalition between your store and their venture. Even small donations or some form of assistance can help enhance your marketability.

Further useful information is available here through my thoughts on marketing in the current post DOT.com "Bust" period: "The Mature"Internet.

Last but not the least you can consider your retail online shop as your future security and investment. The initial monetary losses can be quickly offset by eventual profitability if you follow a logical course. Even the most lucrative online stores like Amazon.com or EBay had to struggle in the beginning to reach where they are today!

Bottom Line:

There is nothing in the world known as a get rich quick scheme! Knowledge, aptitude, perseverance and hard work have no alternative. Following established principles and proven practices enumerated in this article will help you in succeeding with your Mom and Pop Online Store. Methodical progress using the experiences of several examples of niche marketing will bring you to the pinnacle of popularity with your clients and prospective visitors.

Sincerely,
Thurman Ray Plumlee
Thurman "Ray"Plumlee
The Web Helper



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