Global vs local: The battle for main streets in the age of online
June 27, 2024

Global vs local: The battle for main streets in the age of online

With the rise of digital services, the role of our main streets is changing. Learn how successful local traders are leveraging their main street locations to beat global brands

Attracting visitors to main streets faces unprecedented challenges in the era of convenience provided by online services. As online services continue to expand their reach into everyday life—from food delivery and online fitness to enabling remote work — visits to local main streets are now activities of choice rather than necessity. 

The allure of shopping from home, where customers can browse a vast array of products or services and make purchases with a few clicks, is changing the role of our main streets. Once bustling centres of community and commerce, main streets across Australia now contend with the allure of doorstep deliveries and virtual shopping experiences that cater to consumers' desire for ease and efficiency. This shift is forcing local businesses to rethink their strategies, leaning into ‘experience’ over ‘convenience’ as their unbeatable point of difference

But just how can local main streets compete with online global companies? 

In working with main streets across Australia, we’ve seen how the best traders leverage the advantages that main streets provide ahead of their online competitors. Here are the top 3 tactics:

  1. Focus on Personalised Customer Experience: Local traders can leverage their advantage in providing personalised customer service. By getting to know their customers personally, remembering their preferences, and offering a welcoming atmosphere, they create a shopping experience that online platforms cannot replicate. Building strong relationships with customers fosters loyalty and encourages repeat business, even in the face of online convenience.
  2. Collaborations between Local Businesses: Increasingly local businesses are finding success through partnerships with other local businesses, community organisations, or even online influencers to cross-promote each other's products and services. Collaborative efforts can amplify reach and appeal to a broader audience, while reinforcing the unique personality and reason to visit local main streets.
  3. Enhance Community Engagement: Local main street traders can strengthen their ties with the community by actively participating in local events, hosting workshops or classes, and supporting community initiatives. By becoming a hub of local activity and culture, traders can attract customers who value community connections and the social aspects of shopping. Collaborating with other local businesses, partnering with community organisations, and engaging with local influencers can amplify their reach and visibility within the community, fostering a loyal customer base that values local support and community spirit.

Implementing these strategies not only helps local main street traders compete effectively with global online companies but also reinforces their unique strengths and contributions to the local economy and community.

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