For retailers, the Fog of Uncertainty that began in April 2020 around the pandemics keeps coming back. Just when it appeared that we were ready to "get back to life" if not "back to normal," the Delta variant has surged.
This has created more uncertainty. How willing are your customers to actually go out and shop? Even more important (to you): how willing are YOUR customers to shop with YOU?
So, here's an idea: Why not ask them? Really. Send them a short questionnaire.*
You don't have to poll your entire town. Your customers are very specific to you. All that matters is how willing they are to interact with your stores. In your communities.
Keep these things in mind when putting together your questions:
Then tally the results. And pay attention to their responses.
Our guarantee: there WILL be a surprise!
Next: USE the results! Use it to influence your advertising messages and in-store signage. Maybe change your hours, or improve your online access.
Most of all, feel more confident in the decisions you make about how best to move forward. Just a few questions of the people whose opinion matters the most can go a long way toward clearing that Fog of Uncertainty.
* Here is a link to a site that identifies 15 different places for free online survey tools. [No, we have no affiliation with that site or any of the survey sites. We just found this through an online search.]
A frequent recommendation for how to navigate the current economic uncertainty is to be more diligent about controlling expenses, and focus on profit. (You'll see; we challenge that below.)
Hmm. Concentrating on profits is easier said than done in today's environment, with cost increases proliferating under the umbrella of inflation.
Let's assume your stores have been closed for weeks now.
We recognize how conscientious you are. So, after paying what you can to your employees (and yourself), the next most-worrisome dilemma is your rent.
As you likely have discovered, a common choice for many landlords is to offer to defer your payments. But that means taking on more debt, as those payments are only being postponed to a later point in time.
You need a better solution than that.
As more stores are able to reopen, and more shoppers are willing to emerge, what will they encounter?
As Amazon Prime Day approaches – it is June 21 and 22 this year, the earliest ever for this 48-hour promotional event – retailers from all segments are wondering (or being asked): "So, how do you compete with Amazon?"
Our response? You don't, at least not directly.
Yet independent retailers do have many strategic advantages over Amazon. But you must recognize them, and enhance them at every opportunity. Here are some ideas that you may want to consider.
So, say you have re-opened your stores. Then what? Did the customers come back?
Or, were many of those who did show up just there to say "Hello!" And "We missed you!", but not to buy? Sigh.
We are not surprised. And here's why.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀