It’s no secret that 2020 was a transformative year for various industries. Federal and state regulations forced some brick-and-mortar stores to close their doors, leaving them questioning if they’d make it to see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a scary time for business owners and their employees. The road to retail recovery is certainly not an easy one to take, but it’s the only option for business owners who rely on sales success as their primary source of income.
As more people get vaccinated and restrictions ease, you may be wondering what steps you can take to revamp your retail business. With more people concerned about their health, it’s vital to take necessary precautions while also giving customers a superior shopping experience. Here are some ways to revitalize your retail business operations as we look ahead to the end of 2021.
Effects of Covid
Many retail stores were facing a decline in sales before the pandemic. Traditional shopping malls and department stores searched for new ways to increase foot traffic and boost their revenue.
As COVID-19 forced retailers to adopt online shopping and digital marketing strategies, it’s no surprise that the retail landscape changed. Some of these changes will affect business in the coming years as we enter a “new normal.”
In May 2021, Deloitte reported that 73% of customers are comfortable with in-person shopping, compared to 34% of customers surveyed 13 months earlier. It’s evident that retailers must be prepared to offer their customers high-quality experiences to boost sales and meet their bottom line.
Let’s explore ways to improve your business operations to withstand the changes the retail industry is experiencing.
Commit to a Digital Transition
It’s a critical time for you to consider implementing new technologies into your daily operations. Meeting customers’ needs, whether by offering a curbside pickup option or adopting a buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) model, you’ll need to be willing to make a digital transition.
Customers crave convenience when it comes to their shopping. It’s rare to find a customer who enjoys spending time waiting in a long line for a fitting room or to complete their purchase, so optimizing the transaction process is an excellent place to start.
Consider upgrading your point of sale (POS) terminals to incorporate contactless payment methods. It’s a win-win situation — customers will enjoy faster customer service, and employees will complete more transactions in the same amount of time.
Consider a Rebrand
It can be challenging to know when it’s time to update your brand identity. Differentiating yourself from your competitors will help you stand out to your potential customers. Many large corporations benefit from rebrandings, such as Dunkin Donuts and Uber.
What goes into rebranding? Changing the name of your business, logo, or any related visual component of your brand is considered rebranding.
Rebranding should complement your general marketing strategy, but keep in mind that small changes can go a long way. You may not need a complete overhaul of your brand to revitalize your retail business. Your goal should be to modernize and uplift your brand using new color schemes, fonts, and updated marketing materials.
Invest in an Omnichannel Strategy
The key to omnichannel retail is to plan around your customer and what they want out of their shopping experience. A customer-centric marketing plan takes into consideration all of the channels customers use to shop.
For example, a customer in your store can look up a product on their smartphone and gather information about the product from online review platforms and other large retailers, like Amazon or eBay. In this case, they’re using multiple channels simultaneously to shop for products.
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to integrate your business’s physical and digital operations to provide a seamless experience for your customers and employees. Meeting customer demand is something every retail business should aim to do.
Establish a Strong Online Presence
Using social media to promote your products is a great way to increase foot traffic and boost your revenue. Make sure you have an online presence on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms your audience flocks to, to enhance customer engagement.
When a customer uses a search engine to find your store, be sure all of the necessary information is available to them. Claim your Yelp and Google pages and update your hours accordingly — also take the time to respond to reviews and communicate with your customers.
All of these steps will help you create an online presence that will bring more customers to your store and improve your sales.
Offer Customer Incentives
If you have yet to incorporate a loyalty or rewards program into your business model, consider doing so. When customers earn extra perks when they shop at your store, they are more likely to return and turn into loyal customers. Loyal customers drive sales and boost your brand image, which are two keys to revitalizing your business.
Satisfied customers spend more on products, which helps you meet your bottom line and other various other business goals. Offer sales and discounts to customers who value your products when you see them come back for more.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to retail revitalization. Still, the methods listed above are some ways you can improve your current operations and stand out from a competitive retail landscape.
Drive Sales and Boost Revenue
The goal of any retailer is to find innovative ways to improve their business operations. As more people reenter brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll need to keep up with emerging trends and stay ahead of the competition. Whether it’s a rebrand or updating your POS system, it will be well worth the investment when you see more customers coming to your store and purchasing your products.
About Eleanor Hecks
Eleanor is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.