Boss Lady

Changing times: Expand your retail market in in the age of Covid

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As a retailer, it won’t be surprising if the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic shook your business to the core.  Revenue across most of the sector dropped dramatically. This wasn’t just a temporary hit – the medium and long-term future remains uncertain. Recovery, no matter how much we want it, will take time and many ‘casualties’ are expected. Expanding your market is essential for survival.

However, the situation is not all bleak. Seize the opportunity to move your operation online, and become less dependent on customers visiting your physical premises.  Small retail businesses that respond nimbly to the new reality have a great opportunity to extend their market and attract customers from outside their local area.

Embracing the new environment is the key to success. Among the various challenges, such as the need for ongoing finance and looking after your employees, you’ll need to get to grips with changing customer behavior.

Here are some basics to consider.

Optimize your website

If your website has until now, been a fairly low-key part of your operation, it’s time to look again. How clean and easy to use is your site? How fast is it?  How easy is it for your customers to browse and order online?

If you don’t already have your e-commerce set up, now is the time to link your business to a  platform such as Shopify, Wix or Dashnex and create an online store. This ensures that your existing customers, as well as new ones, have an easy way to continue buying from you.

Tools such as Google’s Adwords can help you broaden your reach and attract curious browsers to your site.

Outstanding customer service

Outstanding customer service is essential. You’ll need to organize the way you get your merchandise to the people who’ve chosen to buy from you. It’s time to create strong partnerships with reliable couriers, who’ll be able to deliver or arrange pickups at lightning speed from outside your local area. As they’ll be, to some extent, the ‘face’ of your business, service has to be seamless and easy to use for the customer.

Use multiple channels

It’s not only about your website – up your presence on social media by linking with local groups and influencers. Creating strategic partnerships with brands that reflect your own values may already be part of your marketing strategy, but with increased competition, you’ll need to up your game.

Identify your market niche to engage and communicate your brand message. Dialogue with customers and potential customers by responding positively and authentically to all feedback – remember that you won’t just be speaking to the person who left you a comment, you’ll make an impression on every visitor.

Use free channels

Ensure your profile remains in the public eye by taking every opportunity to speak to the media in including press, radio, and TV, free of charge. Load new engaging content onto social media, again maximizing your use of free channels. Comment on relevant blog posts, and publishing your own, to reach out to a new audience of potential customers.

These ideas are just a starting point to ensuring you stand out from your competition and thrive as an online retailer.

About Arabelle Yee

Arabelle Yee is a former Clinical Psychotherapist turned Business Coach helping startup female entrepreneurs launch their business, package their gift and position themselves as the go-to person in their niche. She's worked with nearly a thousand people over her ten years of career with top global organisations coaching and training. She’s also frequently seen in entrepreneurial platforms giving how-to advice on business and mindset. She's also a Speaker, Adventurer and avid learner of Spirituality and Consciousness.

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