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  • Online shopping is king

    Online shopping is booming and if you're small business isn't up with the trend, you could be missing out on major profits.

     Online shopping is becoming more prevalent than ever before.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, online shopping is growing at such a pace that it's keeping the retail sector afloat.

    The number of establishments offering online shopping increased 27.4 percent between 2011 through 2012, as online shopping and mail-order establishments went from 23,697 in 2011 to 30,185 in 2012. Employment in those sectors also jumped 13.7 percent to 365,508 during that time.

    The greatest employment increase for online shopping and mail-order houses happened to some of the biggest markets in the country. Major gains were seen in counties within Southern California, the New York metro area and Chicago metro area.

    "Unlike traditional stores, which are located throughout the country, online shopping establishments and jobs are in concentrated areas," said William Bostic Jr., the Census Bureau's associate director for economic programs.

    Other places with strong showings included Memphis, Tennessee; Las Vegas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; and Minneapolis.

    The county with the greatest jump in online shopping establishments was Travis, Texas, which includes the city of Austin. Travis County reported a 4.2 percent gain of 1,206 new establishments. While Travis County represented for the South, Hennepin County, Minnesota, represented for the Midwest. Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, had the largest employment rate increase in the country. The county notched a 6.6 percent employment increase, which came out to 52,844 workers in the online retail sector.

    Big differences
    All of the online shopping totals show a vast disparity with the rest of the retail trade sector, which includes brick and mortar stores. The number of traditional stores increased 0.1 percent while employment went up 0.7 percent from 2011 to 2012.

    But what if your small business just doesn't have what it takes at the moment to get online? If that's the case, Bloomgberg stated you'll have to increase foot traffic.

    It can be particularly hard for retailers to create a successful business when their storefronts are on hard-to-see corners or far from main shopping streets.

    "The principle at retail is, 'If it is not seen, it is not there,'" retail consultant Herb Sorensen told Bloomberg.

    Bloomberg urges business owners to advertise their businesses and offer items that aren't available or are hard to find in the local market. Michael Wippler, a business and real estate lawyer and managing partner at Dykema in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg networking is key.

    "Look to your landlord for help with advertising fliers and see if you can't direct cross traffic or pool advertising funds with some of the other retailers nearby," he said.