Retail expert, Catherine Erdly shares her insights on what successful retail businesses have in common.
it’s easyto assume that all businesses are struggling right now, but the truth is that many small and independent product businesses are actually seeing record sales.
Two weeksago, Shopify CEO TobI Lutke tweeted that their platform was seeing incredibly high levels of demand, higher than Black Friday. And Shopify is predominantly home to small and medium sized retailers, supporting the idea that there are many of these who are’seeing buoyant sales.
This articleoutlines four characteristics of businesses that are thriving right now.
1. They’re not acting like it’s business as usual
If you’reon the mailing list for some of the bigger retailers, you might have noticed that several of them are somewhat missing the mark when it comes to relating to their customers.
But smallbusinesses have an advantage – they can share their own personal stories about how life is for them RIGHT NOW.
Businessesthat are thriving are sharing these stories to make the connection, but in a positive way. If you’re struggling with what to say – start by meeting your customer where they are and share your life too.
2. They sharetheir stories
Successfulproduct businesses right now are the ones that share their story and values with their audience.
Take Lucyand Yak for example – as an ethical clothing brand, they went a whole step further with the idea of knowing who made your clothes and have their tailors in India sew a numbered tab into the leg of each pair of dungarees.
This week, as part of Fashion Revolution week, they shared a page on their website that showed you a photo and description of who had made your dungarees.
Consciousconsumerism has been growing in momentum as a movement for the past couple of years and I don’t believe that Covid-19 is going to slow it down. People are going to continue to want to buy products that have a story and a purpose rather than just more “stuff”.
So what doesthat mean for you?
Are you sharingyour business story? Is it on your about page, as a highlight on your Insta bio? Are you talking about it regularly to your customers? ‘share your values, tell your story and show your customers that by buying from you, they are buying from someone who shareswhat’s important to them.
3. They showup and remain visible
In practicalterms, what does that mean?
At thevery least, sticking with a regular marketing schedule.
Not sure what to say? Brainstorm ideas in 30 minutes so you have a bank of content instead of staring at a blank screen when it’s time to post.
Can’t maintainwhat you were doing before? Set yourself up a slimmed-down posting schedule, and stick to that. Consistency beats quantity.
If you’vebeen thinking about paid advertising, or have begun to dabble, then why not go for it right now? Many small businesses are seeing amazing results from paid ads, helped by big businesses pulling back.
In thewords of Lucy Wern and her excellent book, now is the perfect time to “hype yourself”. Steph Douglas, founder of don’t Buy Her Flowers is a great example of a founder who has been staying visible – sharing her story and how her business has been doing on severalplatforms.Press isreally focused on hearing small business stories right now, there’s no better time to get out there and share your story.
4. They havefantastic products that people want
The best’sales strategy is a great product strategy. Businesses that are thriving right now are the ones that have great products that people want to buy. In some ways, it really is as simple as that.
And theyarent holding back from releasing new products either. Customers are still looking for something new and exciting. ‘so if you’re’struggling, take another look at your products and ask yourself if they are as perfect for your customers as they could be. Spending this time right now developing or sourcing new products is a great way to help you come back stronger when the time comes.
In summary, meet your customers where they are, tell your story, show up, take action and focus on your products to help your business be one of those that are thriving right now.