Rural OmniLocal. It’s the new rural retail buzzword. I know because I made it up. I didn’t make up the trend; I just decided we needed a name for it.
In the world of big retail companies, “omni channel” means using as many different channels as they can to try to reach their customers everywhere they are, everywhere they shop. In rural retail, Rural OmniLocal means small town retailers using multiple channels, especially to reach their local customers.
Every independent business has customers right now who visit in person to shop. Those same customers use their phones, tablets and computers to buy from other businesses online. That’s the natural leverage point where it’s easiest for local businesses to go online: start with your existing customers.
You don’t have to think about serving that huge mass of people online who you don’t know and don’t understand. Just think about your people you know so very well and how you can make it easier for them to buy from you.
That might be having a website where they can order online. It might having an app so that they can make a purchase from their phone, or it may be integrating with existing apps. Maybe there’s an easy way for you to integrate with existing messenger channels or chatbots that are available now. Maybe your chamber or local business group has an existing site or app, or maybe your state’s buy-local campaign or agritourism site would be a good match. These are all channels you can start to take advantage of.
You know so much about your existing customers, it’s easier to analyze their habits to figure out what’s a better way to serve them than thinking of the unknown masses out there. You don’t have any data on that huge unknown audience. You don’t know who they are. You have to start from the anonymous perspective of how many consumers there are in the US, their average spending in your category, how many are in your demographic categories. It’s daunting.
Your existing customers are less daunting because you know about them, and you can find out a lot more by asking some questions and listening to them. This is a much better leverage point than the generic mass of people that might be out there somewhere.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – This is just one of the 10 trends we’ll talk about in the web broadcast next week, called Small Town Trends. It only costs US$20, and you can share it with everyone in town, as long as you’re there, too.
PPS – This is still a secret, so don’t tell anyone else. Deb and I have decided this topic is too important to close after just 2 weeks. You’re going to want to share it a lot more than that. So if you sign up, you can watch the replay for a full SIX MONTHS. We’re not announcing that yet, but you’re different. I wanted to let you in on the secret now. So go sign up