Here’s how small-business owners can adapt to the new retail landscape

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of consumers are replacing in-store visits with online shopping — and retailers need to adapt.
Businesses that typically rely on in-store sales should consider pivoting to selling online, or offering appointment-based shopping, and rethinking their social-media strategy to drive sales and keep up with consumer trends.
To make shoppers and employees more comfortable, retailers should expand their fulfillment methods and transition to contactless payments.

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely be a defining moment for retailers, changing the way they sell, deliver, and promote products.

A recent study of shopping patterns during the pandemic found that a majority of people (64%) have replaced traditional weekly shopping trips with online ordering. And retailers that have previously relied on in-store sales have had to shift to selling online and scheduling appointments for customers to browse products.

The SMB Group reported that a third of all small- and midsize-business owners say that increasing the use of online channels — digital sales channels, marketplaces, websites — has helped to replace some of the business they’re losing from in-store operations during the pandemic.

Here are some of the ways small-business owners can adapt to the new retail landscape.

Rethinking social

Staying in touch with customers is crucial for any business who have had to limit their in-person interaction, and many are getting creative with how they build and maintain relationships on social media.

Instagram and Facebook are excellent platforms to tease products and drive sales. Popular strategies include featuring educational tips (tutorials and classes), customer content (customers enjoying products and services), special announcements, and promotions.

Due South, a home-goods boutique in Colorado, is making customers’ shopping experience easier and more enjoyable while they’re stuck at home. The store has been using Facebook to provide virtual shopping tours and live workshops for customers who want to spruce up their house or get help with their next DIY project.

Awoke Vintage, a chain in New York, has been selling merchandise through Instagram stories by posting more than 75 items a day. The company receives orders through direct message and then sends customers an invoice through Square to complete the purchase.

Proactive business move: Social media is an effective way to keep customers up to date on offerings and hours, and what a business is doing to maintain a safe shopping experience. Retailers can also leverage capabilities, like livestreaming and shoppable Instagram posts, to stay connected with customers and provide them with an easier way to shop. Adding Square Online Checkout links is a quick and easy way to take payments from your social followers.

Expanding fulfillment options

Businesses facing reduced foot traffic or still bound by stay-at-home orders should consider expanding fulfillment options like curbside or in-store pickup.

While the buy online, pick up in store (

Source:: Business Insider

      

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