However, there is also no question that competition from online retailers is presenting challenges and that store owners are going to have to adapt in order to survive.
Is adding an online store of your own the answer? Not necessarily, but you do need a website. That not only adds legitimacy, but also gives you an opportunity to tell your story and to show up in web searches for the types of goods that you sell.
Do you need an actual online store? It depends.
- Do you offer unique products that aren't generally available elsewhere? If so, selling those items online will expand your geographic market area.
- Do you have a loyal customer base that prefers to shop online? If so, then it makes sense to make it easy for them to buy from you. Be sure to offer your customers the option of in-store pick-up, too. There is a good chance they'll buy more from you when they do.
- Selling gift cards online is also a great way to bring customers into your store.
In my opinion, any business that sells direct to consumers needs a facebook page to allow customers to engage with them. Be sure to post at least weekly on your facebook page and respond to every comment within a day. Otherwise, your page will detract from your image rather than enhance it.
Back at the store, think about carrying at least some products that can't be easily purchased online or that people want to touch and feel before they buy. Great examples of this are plants, clothing, bath soaps, and unique types of gifts. In other words, give customers a compelling reason to come to your store to shop instead of purchasing online or going to a different brick and mortar store. That doesn't mean that you can't also sell items readily available online; it is just that those items won't bring people into your store.
So, yes, it does take more than location, location, location to succeed as a brick and mortar store today, but success is definitely possible if you are willing to adapt.