COVID-19 is Changing the Game for Retailers
By now, most of us enduring this COVID nightmare feel like the hero at the end of an action movie – resilient, but tired. Waiting on the next announcement from the governor or other officials has left us overly tuned in to the news media while we have been scrambling to reinvent our business models. Some customers have been too nervous to enter the stores or have requested additional services over the phone or email, taxing our “come and see” style retailing on which most of us have built our business. Yet, we have survived. Not just that, many that stayed open actually thrived.
Family-owned since 1983 –
With our own family garden center operating since 1983, Jackson Pottery has been on the front lines of a new retail reality. Like you, we realized that we needed to step up our retail game to offer some sort of easy system for customers to shop remotely. Online ordering is the natural go-to, but that is easier said than done. Wanting to see how the big boys do it, we elected to do an online order with a curbside pickup from a local box store. It was rather seamless. Granted, they have the money – like A LOT more money than independent garden centers. The fact remains, however, that many people want to be able to see what you have on either a website or social media and stop by for easy curbside service.
How do independent retail stores adjust to the “new normal?”
Facetime shopping and other virtual tools certainly helped, but if the virus comes back, we all need an easy way to move from “day by day” living to a strong, formidable plan for success. Going forward, how do we continue to show our customers that we care about their safety and want to maintain a comfortable shopping experience? After all, customer engagement outside of shopping in-store is critical, as well.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Over the last few months, we’ve reached out to customers and conducted in-depth meetings with our own retail staff to come up with some great tips for going forward in 2020.
10 Straight-Forward Success Tips:
- Communicate the steps you are taking to ensure a safe environment for your guests. Let customers see your staff taking safety measures in cleaning and abiding by recommended health and safety protocol.
- Coach your staff on how your retail guests are coming back after months of staying at home and that there is a great opportunity to delight them with your own brand of “retail therapy.”
- Hire an outside cleaning service for deep cleaning of baskets, carts, doors, bathrooms, and high use areas.
- Continue to promote your specialty items on social media and your website.
- Make suggestions on items that customers can pick up curbside.
- Educate your retail staff on products and pricing that you have in stock, so that phone questions are handled well, encouraging pickup or store visits.
- Offer a virtual experience where your customers can see your offerings without needing to come in to the store.
- Offer and market “package deals” on items that customers may need going into the season or items that make great gifts. Gift baskets, etc. are great ways to encourage quick, easy pick-ups.
- Engage your customers on social media with videos and ideas on gardening; reminders on dates for planting and fertilizing are great ways to touch base and remind them you are open.
- Keep your best sellers stocked and well displayed. This will ensure a great customer experience for customers entering your place of business.
Haven’t visited our Virtual Booth yet for the Arett Pottery Showcase? There’s no time like the present!
Jackson Pottery has also made adjustments with you in mind. Our online ordering program makes booking your pottery easier than ever. To learn more about this, shoot us an email at email@example.com or call us at 877-533-7687.