Can advertising a local e-commerce store be effective?

In my article discussing the issues with advertising an online store, I mention a limited delivery area being one of the biggest issues a business can have. For a lot of small businesses, it’s not necessarily feasible to serve a nationwide area, and they prefer to operate within a 20 mile radius of their company.

From an advertising perspective, this can be a nightmare, as your customer base is greatly limited. If you’re selling something niche – unless you’re making a huge profit per item sold – it’s probably going to be near impossible to earn enough revenue for a full-time income.

To be fair, if you’re only making a small amount per item sold you’re likely to struggle making your website successful, even if it’s a popular product.

That doesn’t mean the online store can’t necessarily work, but it is difficult to get started. In an ideal world you’ll already have dedicated customers who will want to use your online store, and then hopefully finding an effective advertising technique will be a bonus.

Any advertising will need to be backed by heavy market research, and a lot of aftercare for whatever advertising techniques are used.

Market research, in my opinion, should also be an integral part of deciding what you actually sell (irrelevant of whether you’re a local company or not). I detail why and how in my marketing guide for small businesses, but this is an important step in ensuring your website doesn’t fail.

Competition is one of the main issues you’re likely to encounter, which your market research should reveal. Companies who serve nationwide simply won’t be able to compete with your customer service, but their product pricing is likely to be an issue. Hopefully not, though.

If your competition nationwide isn’t too ridiculous, you’ll also have to consider the local competition. Fingers crossed there isn’t too much local competition, but a lot of industries have quickly become bloated in the digital age.

One good example is the boiler industry.

Every home in the UK needs a boiler, and the local market has quickly become oversaturated. I talked about it more extensively in my article talking about Worcester Bosch, but overall the issue lays in there being too many companies selling the exact same product and forcing the costs of advertising within the industry to sky rocket.

Luckily, a good amount of market research should help determine if this is true of your industry or not.

So, with all this considered, what digital advertising should prove effective?

Facebook Ads offer options such as “Message Now Ads” which are likely to help sell items, as you’re able to chat to customers (helping build their brand confidence) and then provide a checkout link for them to follow through with their purchase.

Other Facebook Ads (brand awareness, traffic, store purchases) can also prove effective, but the amount of engagements you’ll see will be greatly limited due to your service area. For example, if your demographic is too niche you might find the same group of people (who aren’t interested in your product) will be shown your adverts repeatedly.

Google Ads are also a no-brainer, granted there’s enough searches within your local area to provide a considerable amount of traffic. The less searches for your product, the more competitive the price of your keywords become.

In conclusion, the success of your online store relies entirely three variables; how much you make per item sold, the demand for that item locally, and the competition within your local area. If there’s a good demand and you can make a decent return on investment per item sold, go get started already!

Realistically, nobody really knows if your website is capable of being financially successfully, but being limited to 20 miles in a world of nationally serving companies does make achieving success a lot more difficult.

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