Independent Retailers and the COVID-19 Crisis

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Since March 2, 2020, The ROI's Co-Founders have been offering insights, strategic approaches, and online resources for independent retailers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

These appeared first in The ROI NEWS.

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Time Has Run Out for "Technology Laggards"

Independent retailers are renowned for being "technology laggards." Those days have to end!

As you wait and worry about re-opening your stores, the state of the economy, the health and safety of your family and friends and employees, here is an idea of what you might do with some of your found time. 

When you do re-open, be sure that you are actually in the 21st Century! Put your energy, your resilience, and your flexibility to use, focusing on improving your IT.

The goal: When you re-open, be even better than your competition! And more relevant to your shoppers.

The shoppers rely on the internet more and more, especially after this experience. And many have discovered that some of their preferred retailers offer product online. Shouldn't they be discovering your stores too?

Shoppers also expect to get dependable information about the selection and the availability of merchandise in your stores: why make a trip if it's not available? That means you must have up-to-date data on your inventory.

Or, say the governor of your state announces that all retailers can re-open"with curbside pickup only", could you even consider that for your stores? Do you stores have the technology in place to manage that?

  • How would customers place their orders?
  • How would you confirm availability of those items?
  • How would they pay? When they pick it up?
  • Do you have mobile payment devices available? 

There is plenty of other technology available besides inventory control. Much of it has to do with digital marketing and connecting with customers.

As an independent retailer, your strength is your customer connections. As we work toward the New Normal, that sense of community must be nurtured digitally.

Programs and tools, many cloud-based, are abundant, increasingly user-friendly, and can be very cost-effective. The sooner you get involved with them, the better for your business going forward. 

It also will have implications for your hiring and staffing going forward. 

All of which are very significant considerations for your fundamental Go/No Go decisions about re-emerging after the pandemic. 



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