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Use the Internet to Promote Your Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store

Aug 17, 2007
There are many ways to use the Internet to promote your brick-and-mortar retail store. All it takes is a little Internet knowledge and some creativity.

While general internet marketing strategies will certainly help promote your retail store, there are some unique marketing ideas that can help propel you right past your competition, many of whom don't even have a web presence.

First, you should make use of all the general Internet marketing strategies: set up a website, get links to it from as many sites as possible, submit it to search engines (especially local search engines like Google Local and Yahoo Local), and generally promote it in every place and on everything you can. Once this is done, it is time to look at the more specialized marketing a retail store can do.

Most of your walk-in clients are going to be familiar with the products you sell, and chances are many of them will already be regular customers. Your online campaign, then, is not really aimed at people who already shop at your store.

Instead you want to attract new business. For small brick and mortar retail stores, the goal should probably be to go from being a strictly local business to a regional or even national business. This is not as crazy as it sounds, because retail stores have a huge advantage over service-oriented businesses. While most services require the customer to be nearby, a retail business can usually can send products to customers no matter where they live.

To do this, you will need a shopping cart system like the ones used by Amazon.com or the major online department stores. Shopping carts allow customers to select which of your products they want, decide the quantity, and enter their shipping and payment information. The capability of buying and selling goods and services online is often referred to as e-commerce.

One major note about e-commerce needs to be made here: you must have a completely secure payment system before you start selling products online. The last thing you want is for someone to have their credit card information stolen.

Shopping cart systems are available for purchase from many software companies, and there are even some great open source solutions, which means they are free. There are also online services that provide robust e-commerce solutions, often integrated with email services and extensive tracking and reporting tools.

Besides e-commerce, you can also use the Internet to promote your brick-and-mortar retail store by offering online coupons and other Internet only promotions. Run an online sale, offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount, or give the first 100 buyers a free promotional item.

People love getting something for nothing, and many will visit your online store just for the special bonus. This gives you the additional benefit of getting your visitor's contact information so you can follow up via email and postal mail. Just be sure visitors know they will be receiving information, and always provide a way for them to unsubscribe from your email list.

All of these ideas will help you use the Internet to promote your brick-and-mortar store, while bringing you new customers and providing information and services to the customers you already have. So go for it. Get your website up and running and watch your products sail off the shelves!
About the Author
Ricardy Banks is a regular article contributor on many topics. Be
sure to visit his other websites Internet Advertising Solutions , Travel
and Debt Consolidation
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