Nov 15 2018

Leveling the E-commerce Playing Field for Indie Retailers

By American Independent Business Alliance / Janna Williams

When almost everything people need can be accessed in the palm of their hand, an online presence isn’t a choice for independent businesses.

Let’s face it – e-commerce statistics are daunting.

The desire for instant access, around-the-clock accessibility and fast turnaround will be the norm by 2026, driven in particular by millennials (born approximately 1980–95) and Generation Z consumers (born approximately 1996–2010). 4 in 10 purchases are made using only an online channel for searching and buying. Americans spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store, and 36% online. 88% of shoppers characterize detailed product content as being extremely important to their purchasing decisions. How is independent business keeping up? While fighting this behavior isn’t an option, pairing new and innovative technology with pro-local information and action is the way to help level the e-commerce playing field for local independent businesses.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Massey, Founder and President of Locally. His company’s platform connects consumers to premium brands and in-stock products at local retailers – the e-commerce answer to keeping local dollars spent…well…locally!

Where did the idea for Locally come from?

In 2014, a small group of outdoor retailers determined that consumer behavior was changing and that retailers would need to get their inventory information in front of online shoppers. They wanted a tool that functioned like OpenTable which would connect shoppers’ online behavior to local area purchasing options.

What philosophy drives Locally?

I am a third-generation retailer who was involved with pioneering e-commerce in 1997 along with Amazon in the early 2000’s. Through this process, I realized how consumer shopping was rapidly changing.

Consumers want to have the option to research products and shop 24 hours a day, when convenient, around work schedules and daily life. Rather than try to change consumer behavior, local retail needs to match their cadence. For instance – Home Depot has adapted to a digital future and provides a successful example of a buy-online/pick-up in-store system. This is a light that local business can aim to follow.

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