This week we spoke with retail consultant Miriam Smith and asked her for what advice she has for businesses reopening post lockdown. Miriam is a successful business and retail consultant and has over 30 years experience in business management.
This month Miriam released a new Ebook called Retailing through Uncertainty -Time to Thrive which you can learn more about here.
All non-essential retail is currently closed, and this looks to be for the foreseeable future. A challenging if not grim start to 2021 for many SME retail businesses. However, it is not all doom and gloom. There are opportunities to continue trading, as well as to use this time to effectively plan future success.
Here are 7 quick tips from Miriam on how to weather the current closure.
1. Have clear, consistent Business as Usual messaging.
Make sure your customers have clarity on how they can get in touch with you.
This includes the following:
- Clear window signage (decently sized so that it is visible from across the street)
- Regular reminders via email & your digital channels that you are still there and can be contacted / “And this is how…”
2. Use this opportunity to really connect with the Customer.
This means emotionally connecting and being on the lockdown journey with them. Think about how they are feeling. Are they juggling work & home schooling for example? Are they likely feeling scared, or bored etc. Some awareness and empathy within your messaging will go a long way in building loyalty.
3. Adapt your offer to the evolving situation.
Think about what goods you can offer that will support your customers and fulfil a need they have now. And be agile with this!
Great recent examples of this within the hospitality sector around care packages & meal kits etc I expect we will see family picnic boxes & afternoon tea deliveries very soon also.
4. Ramp up on Social Media.
Let’s face it – We are all scrolling much much more, and therefore Social commerce is on a massive growth trajectory. Reminder to approach this from a customer-centric point of view – Not just repetitive hard sell.
As per #2 – Know who you are talking to! Sprinkle the product’s sell posts with additional value-add content that makes life better for your customer. Believe me – they will remember you for it.
5. Video works!
Video on social media brings your brand, your business, your product to life.If you want to sell effectively – use video. Better still – use LIVE video.
We all love LIVE video because it is true and it is real. LIVE Video sessions from the store are great cash drivers if planned effectively.
6. Remember that whilst your doors may be closed, you are still able!
How else can you engage with your customer?
- Can you do concierge video appointment shopping via WhatsApp or Zoom?
- What about a weekly 3-minute video featuring new product drops?
There are so many creative ways to reach, to support, and to sell to your customer.
7. Recalibrate! So that you end the Pandemic in a stronger market position.
- Refine your ecommerce offer. If you’re not online – Get online!
- Grow your customer base. Reach out to new customers both locally and further afield. You have time to focus on all this stuff now!
- Plan your Quarter Four now! We will be emerging from the Pandemic hopefully by PEAK this year. This yields a huge opportunity for those that are ready for next Christmas.
Wishing you all well for brighter trading ahead!
Who is Miriam Smith?
All about retail trading and consumer strategy, Miriam is a non exec advisor and director who brings over 30 years board level expertise, leading large Retail Multinationals both operationally and strategically. With a reputation for successful growth and trading strategy, as well as leadership of turnovers circa €300M+ / Teams > 800, Miriam’s focus is on commercial strategy alongside organisational structure and operations. Her background includes senior roles within brands such as TKMaxx, Monsoon Accessorize, LifeStyle Sports & B&Q.
Alongside this, Miriam has spent the last decade mentoring startups in the disruptive technology and med-tech space and she still works with the EIC in this field. Pre pandemic – she would also speak about future retail models and trends. Since the Pandemic – this has moved to seminars that are focused towards the SME retailer and how to survive and thrive. Miriam’s workshops have received high acclaim and in the last 8 months she has worked with hundreds of retailers to support their success, despite lockdowns and closures.
Her new Ebook ‘Retailing through Uncertainty – Time to Thrive’ issues this month.