High rent has pushed many small retailers out of street stores into industrial buildings, which are typically away from residential or business districts.
That has made customer traffic a major challenge.
Many business owners are resorting to Facebook to reach out to clients.
“Internet marketing is the only way for us,” lamented a wood furniture shop owner, surnamed Lam.
“We mainly use Facebook. Their advertising rates are relatively affordable and flexible.”
By paying Facebook to send short ads to millions of users for as low as HK$10 a day, it is possible to reach a few hundred potential customers, Lam said.
The actual spending varies according to the merchant’s target audience.
“I won’t say it is cheap because you have to pay for each posting if you want more people to read your message,” he said.
“But at least it has been quite effective in generating business. I normally specify the messages to be sent to people who have searched for wood furniture to increase my chances of reaching the right people,” Lam said.
Gigi Liu runs a one-man beauty shop. Her favorite platform is Instagram.
By posting pictures of her work, she has gradually built up a following and that is also how she gets clients.
Instagram is popular with handicraft sellers and small designer brands. A good picture is all it needs to attract potential shoppers.
Asked why they don’t have their own websites, many small shop owners mention cost, especially set-up expenses and maintenance charges.
“It’s easy to post anything new on Facebook. You can frequently update your offerings but if we do it on our own website, it will be much harder and costlier,” a manager of a household gadget store said.
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