I’ve created this website as a digital resource for small Christian retail stores for the purpose of giving them a competitive edge in the digital space.
When I opened my Christian bookstore in 2015 I heard the groans of people across the country as they patted me on the back (metaphorically, and sometimes physically): Oh, Derek. Why would you do such a thing in 2015. How can you compete with Amazon.
My answer was three fold.
1. Life is full of regrets. For me, not opening a Christian bookstore would be one I’d look back on with regret. I’d rather try and fail then never try at all.
2. I know what my store is, and what it is not. We are a local, independently owned Christian retail store serving our community. We are neither a big box retailer or an online retail. So we’re not even going to try to compete with those two models, because we don’t exist on that plain.
3. We’re going to survive (or die) on relationship. As a small Christian retail store (in a rather un-Christian community), I know that we’ll make it only by building relationships with our customers.
Now don’t get me wrong, businesses “building relationships” with their customers is a common mantra. So I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes. But how many businesses are proactively doing it?
For example, when was the last time you got an email from a local business that included a personal note and was addressed directly to you?
Most retail businesses are product driven. If we’re going to be product driven then we’re dead out of the gate. Because why would someone purchase from us over Amazon or Walmart?
We won’t survive by pushing generic product-driven emails in front of people. We’ll survive by building relationship-based emails that may highlight product that we genuinely think would help them.
Social media and email marketing has given local business owners a competitive edge, or at the least, it has levelled the playing field some.
But the problem many Christian bookstore owners face is many simply don’t have the time or know-how to make social media and email marketing work for their business.
My hope and prayer is that this website will provide Christian retail owners with some tools that will help them grow their business in this ever-shrinking world.