As your stores are able to re-open after the coronavirus shutdowns, how they look tells a powerful story. And for you, a great opportunity.
This is no time to try to go back to normal, back to business-as-usual. Nor to simply have all kinds of protective shields in your store. While necessary, how welcoming is that?
Instead, this actually IS a second chance to make a good first impression! Take full advantage!
Some restaurants have introduced well-dressed mannequins, or even stuffed animals, to occupy chairs and tables, instead of just blocking them off.*
The key takeaway: make it fun! To get you off to a running start, ask your staff to take the lead. Especially the younger ones.
Your shoppers will return – maybe not to buy at first, but at least to say "Hello!" And when they do, you'd best have a fresh and fun look about your stores.
Plus, be sure to make it "Instagram-able!" Start by having your staff take fun pictures and post them on Instagram. It could be a hoot! If your customers are eager to take selfies in your shops, and post them for their friends to see, how great is that?
Each of these steps offer fine opportunities for being promoted on your social networks. This too could be a terrific project for your staff. Get them involved.
Those uses of new technology may allow you to reduce the hours that your physical store is open. Do you really need to be open all those days, and all those hours, if there are other ways for your customers to buy from you?
This is the perfect time to be revisiting all of those "that's the way we've always done it" practices. Remember, you're making a "first impression" again.
The key: show that your store is embracing the reality of the demands of these pandemics, not resenting them.
Makes for a much healthier, happier store for everyone! Much easier and appropriate for independents to do. And the Big Guys can't match it.
* Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, Restaurants Are Using Mannequins, Blow-Up Dolls And More to Enforce Social Distancing. Forbes.com, May 19, 2020.
** Tracy Schumacher, Would you buy meat from a vending machine? A butcher in NY is betting on it. USA Today, June 1, 2020.
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.
By now, you have your year-end financials for 2021. Remember, it always comes with a Balance Sheet!
Whether sales are up, down, or sideways, the financial strength – and staying power – of every business is shown on its Balance Sheet. And revealed by its Balance Sheet ratios.
Alas, there is really no way to avoid discussing COVID-19, the coronavirus that began in China last month, and now continues to spread throughout the world.
No matter whether or when it is officially declared a "pandemic," the uncertainty and angst that it is generating have troubling implications for retailers.
This is, after all, The Retail OWNERS Institute. We long have specialized in alerting, coaxing, and applauding retail owners worldwide.
Today's message is a major heads-up.
Keeping pace with the relentless changes in retailing has never been easy. Retailers know that constant adjustments are demanded.
Then, the three pandemics of 2020 happened: COVID; the economic meltdown; the social unrest. And life changed modestly or enormously for almost everyone, including owners of retail businesses.
What is the definition of "value" for customers? Pretty straightforward, actually.
Wait. What? "Benefits received?" "Burdens endured?"
Turns out, the only single answer to "What is value?" is, "It depends."
Don't just roll your eyes. What constitutes value for your customers increasingly is a make-or-break part of retailing.
No, Not About People This Time
While we typically think of people as recipients of recognition – and we trust you already are doing that, right? – this is a different challenge.
Ready? Here we go! Of your merchandise, which products are Award Winners?!
Still less than $1 a day! 👀