How To Make This A Prosperous Holiday

ZeeBlu loves helping local business. We want to build a local economy that supports and sustains the corner market, the baker that uses her grandmother’s recipe, and the construction team that built city hall. We don’t want industry heavies—like Amazon.com—to push local brick-and-mortar business off the map. That would be like watching the Grinch steal Christmas in Whoville without lifting a finger.

Amazon is on track to earn $30 Billion this holiday quarter alone. It’s a staggering amount of money, especially when you consider that they will most likely lose money overall, their expenses once again exceeding overall sales. That might make you, as a retailer, stop and scratch your head. As the largest shopping center on the planet, Amazon is being funded by investors to sell their products at a price so low they lose money.

How long can a retailer do that?

It depends on cash—as you know too well, once you run out of powder for paying rent and inventory costs, it’s game over. Not so for Amazon. As the online reporter for Slate magazine says: “Amazon’s ridiculously low margins cannot be good for its rivals in the retail sector [not to mention “local rivals”!], who aren’t blessed with the same license from investors to lose money quarter after quarter.”

Amazon-Sales-Graph

The revenue chart shows that Amazon does as much as 100% more revenue during the Christmas season as it does during the non-holiday quarters. Drawing a line along the holiday (4th-quarter) tops of the revenue spikes leads to the $30 Billion estimate this year.

But we don’t need a chart to see Amazon’s impact. We all felt it when disappointing Christmas sales caused both Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores to close in Santa Barbara in January 2011. Many smaller one-off retailers have come and gone in the intervening years and, although it’s difficult to prove that Amazon’s presence caused their specific failure, it’s clear that competing in the local retail space has gotten tougher. After all, $30 Billion of holiday season sales must come from somewhere.

But there’s good news here. Local business has a secret weapon that online-only retailers cannot rival. Plus, by teaming with a digital marketing strategy company (ZeeBlu is the premier example), we can deploy the most advanced weapons in the digital marketing arsenal—totally on your behalf.

Here’s the secret weapon: local businesses can do and be what no online-only retailer ever can: a trusted community member. People still like the person-to-person contact of a friendly face, a familiar meeting place, a personal relationship. By getting smart about digital marketing, local retailers vastly increase their leverage in the battle for customer mindshare.

 

This requires getting a little smarter about how you do business. Today, shoppers want flexibility in purchasing and they don’t want to pay for shipping. This suggests a local/global, online/offline approach that maximizes customer convenience.

 

Recent findings reported in the Wall Street Journal showed that the lowest customer satisfaction scores were with shipping and delivery. “Online shoppers want more choices,” the survey said. Particularly, they want what is being called “seamless omnichannel experience…” That is a strategy that allows retailers “to combine online and brick and mortar browsing, shopping, ordering and returning in whatever combo they would like. In fact, that is so important that 62% said they are more likely to choose to shop with a retailer that allows them to buy an item online and return it to a store. … Forty-four percent said the opposite: They are more likely to buy online if they can pick up at the store. While this saves them shipping costs, it is good for retailers; more than one-third (38%) buy extra items while in the store, according to the survey.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324063304578523112193480212

[Study name: “Second Annual Pulse of the Online Shopper Survey” conducted by the data analysis firm comScore.]

Setting up an online store and stoking the digital fire will require some work. You’ll need to implement an online store, a sales funnel, integrating free and paid traffic sources (search engine optimization and media buying strategy), email marketing, a website, facebook page, video marketing, and more. And it isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution; you’ll need to feed this marketing machine with high-quality content.

Future posts will cover in greater detail exactly how this is done. [Offer for ZeeMap here?]

Some customers are able to implement some or all of a digital marketing strategy themselves. Others prefer help from the experts at ZeeBlu. Let us know if we can help you make Christmas brighter for your local business because together, we can keep the Grinch away from your door!

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/10/25/amazon_earnings_jeff_bezos_is_like_king_midas_in_reverse_chart.html

The revenue chart shows that Amazon does as much as 100% more revenue during the Christmas season as it does during the non-holiday quarters. Drawing a line along the holiday (4th-quarter) tops of the revenue spikes leads to the $30Billion estimate this year.

But we don’t need a chart to see Amazon’s impact. We all felt it when disappointing Christmas sales caused both Borders and Barnes & Noble bookstores to close in Santa Barbara in January 2011. Many smaller one-off retailers have come and gone in the intervening years and, although it’s difficult to prove that Amazon’s presence caused their specific failure, it’s clear that competing in the local retail space has gotten tougher. After all, $30Billion of holiday season sales must come from somewhere.

But there’s good news here. Local business has a secret weapon that online-only retailers cannot rival. Plus, by teaming with a digital marketing strategy company (ZeeBlu is the premier example), we can deploy the most advanced weapons in the digital marketing arsenal—totally on your behalf.

Here’s the secret weapon: local businesses can do and be what no online-only retailer ever can: a trusted community member. People still like the person-to-person contact of a friendly face, a familiar meeting place, a personal relationship. By getting smart about digital marketing, local retailers vastly increase their leverage in the battle for customer mindshare.

 

This requires getting a little smarter about how you do business. Today, shoppers want flexibility in purchasing and they don’t want to pay for shipping. This suggests a local/global, online/offline approach that maximizes customer convenience.

 

Recent findings reported in the Wall Street Journal showed that the lowest customer satisfaction scores were with shipping and delivery. “Online shoppers want more choices,” the survey said. Particularly, they want what is being called “seamless omnichannel experience…” That is a strategy that allows retailers “to combine online and brick and mortar browsing, shopping, ordering and returning in whatever combo they would like. In fact, that is so important that 62% said they are more likely to choose to shop with a retailer that allows them to buy an item online and return it to a store. … Forty-four percent said the opposite: They are more likely to buy online if they can pick up at the store. While this saves them shipping costs, it is good for retailers; more than one-third (38%) buy extra items while in the store, according to the survey.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324063304578523112193480212

[Study name: “Second Annual Pulse of the Online Shopper Survey” conducted by the data analysis firm comScore.]

 

Setting up an online store and stoking the digital fire will require some work. You’ll need to implement an online store, a sales funnel, integrating free and paid traffic sources (search engine optimization and media buying strategy), email marketing, a website, facebook page, video marketing, and more. And it isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution; you’ll need to feed this marketing machine with high-quality content.

Future posts will cover in greater detail exactly how this is done. [Offer for ZeeMap here?]

Some customers are able to implement some or all of a digital marketing strategy themselves. Others prefer help from the experts at ZeeBlu. Let us know if we can help you make Christmas brighter for your local business because together, we can keep the Grinch away from your door!

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