The retail sector was hit hard during the pandemic and retail companies continue to face declining consumer demand from online businesses. Marc Willson, a retail and hospitality consultant with the Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, presented his seminar ‘Not Business As Usual’ for the University of Mary Washington SBDC clients recently. Marc shares best practices to keep your business strong with detailed steps that business owners can take to thrive in the current environment.
- Build enthusiasm with your customers using Facebook Live and Zoom to highlight new products. One suggestion is to live stream while unpacking new arrivals.
- Post daily on social media and make it easier for your customers to make purchases directly from your social media platforms.
- Set aside time for your best customers to shop by appointment. Determine what hours are the slowest for in-person shopping and set aside those hours one or two days a week for your best customers to shop one at a time in 15 or 20 minute increments.
- Communicate with your customers! Make sure customers know your safety protocols, store hours, promotions, contactless ways to shop and pay for merchandise, and other pertinent information.
- Use short emails to remind customers of items which they left in their shopping cart or showed an interest in online. Example—You left items in your cart. Are you still interested?
- Collaborate with other store owners to cross promote. Ideas include offering discounts to their customers, organizing one pick-up location for purchases for multiple downtown stores, and building gift baskets with products for different merchants.
To learn more about the speaker, Marc Wilson, view New Webinar Offered: Not Business as Usual blog post.
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