Local Retailers Fight to Compete with Online Marketplaces


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A new Shopify merchant/consumer research reveals local retailers are fighting more than ever to compete with online marketplaces. This as the economy starts opening after what seems like a never-ending pandemic.

Competing With Online Marketplaces

According to Shopify research, two in five local retailers are struggling to compete. And 59% say they may need to close their doors in the next two years. However, almost two-thirds of small business owners (65%) are implementing different tactics to compete with major online marketplaces.

Local retailers are improving store atmosphere (50%), offering more product variety (47%), providing better customer service (45%), increasing store hours (43%), and much more.

Local brick-and-mortar retailers are also selling online to compete, but the report says they are underestimating things that stop consumers from buying. According to Shopify, they can solve this problem with omnichannel selling and technology.

Shopify says local retailers need to view offline retail as one sales channel and not the entirety of their business. And by highlighting key differentiators they can start driving customers through their front door as well as an online presence. This includes customer service, convenience, and price.

Shopify Solutions

Along with the report, Shopify is making a new capability in its app. This new feature enables local retail discovery. This means customers can discover retail merchants nearby based on proximity, sort by local delivery and pickup, see trending shops close by, and more.

  • Local filters – Users can locate merchants that are nearby so they can support local businesses. The app identifies businesses that are offering shipping, and pick-up while highlighting return policies.
  • Seamless payment and checkout – Using Shop Pay customers can access fast and easy checkout across all brands on the app.
  • Transparent tracking – All order and tracking information is stored in one convenient place with Arrive. Tracking provides real-time updates and shows the status of each package.
  • Customized recommendations – Personalized recommendations make sure customers consistently rediscover the storefronts of their favorite brands.

The Future of Retail is Flexible

Flexibility is essential for local small retailers to stay alive. As the Shopify report wisely points out, “The idea of selling in only one way is outdated.” This the company says is because commerce is changing too fast to sell only one way. And this also includes physical retail space.

The key is technology because it allows small businesses to stay nimble. With the right solutions, they can optimize their entire operations. From staff to space to sales channels, retailers need to use the available technology, get comfortable with it, and stay nimble.

Image: Depositphotos

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

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