A Mayo retail expert has issued some advice for local businesses as they try to survive and adapt.
“Looking ahead to 2021, local retailers need to continue to adapt to this post-Covid world in order to survive”, says Cong-based retail expert, Melissa Moore.
Melissa, also known as The Retail Advisor, says “shop local campaigns were a saving grace last year and can be built on successfully in 2021.”
Here are Melissa’s top four tips:
Understanding Shoppers’ Needs – It is important to acknowledge how Covid may have changed who your customers are, how they shop, and what they are buying. Putting yourself in their shoes, their new routines, and circumstances will help you focus on how you can best serve them.
Melissa says to always keep this customer in mind as you make decisions about your business in terms of product range, services, marketing, and team training. The home-schooling, working from home customer doesn’t have time to spend all day scrolling. Timing your social media posts for maximum impact and visibility is important.
“Show them what they need to make their life easier or brighten up their day. Candles for home offices or home spas, board games for entertainment, runners for their walk during the day. Now is not the time for advertising sun cream or suitcases!”
Customer Experience – Retailers have the ability to disappoint or delight customers. If you deliver an exceptional customer experience both in-store and online, customers will keep coming back. Live social media shop tours or virtual one-to-one appointments during lockdown helped local retailers survive.
“These ‘experiences’ need to continue in 2021,” said Melissa.
Communicating with Your Customer – “Be aware of how you communicate,” says Melissa. The Retail Advisor says retailers must remember to engage with their customers. Communication creates an impression good or bad. The words you use and the tone of your voice or the language you use online is so important. With the introduction of masks in-store, this is very challenging. “So, think about smiling with your eyes as well as having open, welcoming body language,” said Melissa.
Your Online Presence – Retailers also need to be aware that their presence needs to look and feel the same in-store, online, or on social media. Customers don’t want to see empty shelves when they walk into your shop. So remember this when it comes to your website too. They don’t want to see rows of sold-out articles there either.
Melissa suggests looking at your website analytics on a daily basis and replacing out of stocks with alternative items or your best sellers.
Melissa Moore has over 20 years’ retail experience with Irish and international brands. These include Brown Thomas, IKEA and Kilkenny Design.
Melissa works with retailers to create excellence in customer experience and to grow their sales. Most of her clients are established independent retailers and emerging Irish creators, including Mayo business Hawthorn Handmade Skincare.
Melissa provides training and support to clients from a wide range of customer-facing companies including high street retailers and hospitality businesses such as Ashford Castle.
Find out more about her at www.theretailadvisor.ie or contact her on 087 7410 653 or [email protected]