The New Normal: How Retailers Can Continue to Strive in 2021

Felix Yim

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The global pandemic has re-shaped the way businesses are operating. Industries worldwide are attempting to cope with the new normal. However, only a few of them have proven to be successful in the market. They chose to adopt tactics that helped them avoid huge losses. Now, these very businesses are profitable thanks to their sustainable production and service provision methods.

Retail businesses faced the brunt of the outbreak’s consequences, mainly due to state laws that restrict public gatherings and put stay-at-home orders in place. However, that does not mean they need to hold back on their businesses. Retail businesses can learn from some notable names in the industry that have managed to pull through amidst the pandemic.

Businesses need to prepare now and pick up on such noteworthy methods as post-virus effects can be even more drastic. Creating an effective strategy and proper business consultation to resume operations and aim for growth is key for every business. Businesses must maintain progress towards this goal regardless of the obstacles that come in between.

This article will walk you through all there is to know about retail businesses striving for a place in the market by the upcoming year.

Customer Engagement is Key

Despite the effects of the virus, retail businesses must connect with their customers in every way they can. They need to make promotional offers to consumers as a means to win them back. Such strategies will prevent them from approaching competitors in the industry. Whether it’s through heavy advertisements on social media, or sending coupons through emails, keeping customers engaged and up to date with your products will encourage them to buy from your store rather than anybody else’s. The key here is to establish a deep connection with consumers, so the next time they are looking for something, they know where exactly to check (your store).

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks has this to say on building an experiance for customers "You walk into a retail store, whatever it is, and if there’s a sense of entertainment and excitement and electricity, you wanna be there. "

Never too Late to Go Digital

Now is the best time to take advantage of digitalization and technology. Since business owners and customers alike have to stay at home, in-person operations can’t take place. Adopting an effective digital marketing strategy and establishing an online platform for your retail store is the way to go. If you haven’t already, know that it is never too late to shift to a digital platform. Not only will your business continue effective operations, but it can also turn out more profitable than it would be on-site.

Let’s face it. Online businesses do not have to account for several things. This includes property taxes, premises cost, maintenance, and inventory space, among other things. Carrying out operations online can ensure smooth business activities while catering to all your consumer needs as per the features you include on your website.

Simultaneously, it would also be a good idea to market your store digitally to appeal to a wider consumer base. Make use of social media algorithms to reach your exact target audience with your ads and commercials.

Innovate the Traditional Shopping Experience

If you are allowed to keep your business open as per your state laws, simply make the most of it by following COVID-19 SOPs strictly. You will also need to keep up with the latest trends by adopting new ways to interact with customers and lure them into your store. Revamp the usual shopping experience!

Retailers could also opt for a hybrid approach where online and on-site selling is open for all. Customers purchasing online may be used to the typical shopping experience they get at a retail store in person. Retail businesses must keep this factor in mind as they aspire to create a new and unique experience. After all, they need to retain all the appealing factors of a traditional retail store experience. This increases your business’ credibility while improving customer experience. The last thing you would want is a confused customer on your site exposed to an unfamiliar shopping experience. A hybrid approach also opens room for more profit for the business.

Customer Service is still King

Regardless of whether you opt to establish a digital retail market or a hybrid one, customer service remains a top priority for all. In addition to quality products, customers will still be looking at top-notch customer service to ensure a hassle-free and easy shopping experience. Incorporate all the necessary features on-site and online to assist customers in every way that you can.

As Varun Ashok, the Director of Mobile Experts, Australia’s leading phone repair chain says: "Great customer experiance will make or break your business. From the moment your customer steps foot into your shop, you need to ensure their experiance smooth."

Quality service is also a great way to encourage referrals among peers and could expand your customer base significantly. Customer service not only maintains your current customers but also opens doors for newer customers to come in.

Returning Customers Makes up your Margin

During the pandemic, the primary concern of every business is to retain the current customer base. You can choose to appeal to customers using promotional offers or other strategies. Regardless, know that this is the easiest gateway to boosting your profit margin.

Mark Parker, CEO of Nike has this to say on the importance of building up a relashionship with your customers "[Our brands] are loved by customers all over the world. But we never take that for granted; we know that every day we have to earn their trust—by serving them completely and adding real value to their lives through products and experiences."

It’s never too late to adopt these methods and make the most out of your retail business. You should start planning today to ensure hassle-free, smooth, and profitable business activities for tomorrow.

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Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.

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