Adapting to the changing times
Retailers are rapidly adapting their businesses as covid-19 continues to hinder sales. The most successful are shifting towards online experiential retail.
As a business owner, you’re probably hearing a lot of ways that small businesses can adapt to the changing times.
The most common that we’ve seen are:
- Move your store online, or improve your online sales processes.
- Offer on-the-go product deals
- Shift product focus to hands-on usage and activities.
While these are definitely great starting points, they aren’t really specific to any industry.
We’ll cover different ways you can adapt your retail business using the tools from right within your Erply account. We’ll even cover examples specific to a variety of industries so you can be inspired to change up or improve your covid-19 sales strategies.
The strategy: Adapting your retail business
Retail adaptation can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never undergone large-scale product changes before.
A good place to start to is to think: what would you want to see in a retailer during the covid-19 shutdown?
Think about yourself as a consumer, not a store owner. Life might be slowing down, but it’s not coming to a standstill — you probably want to find more ways to maintain safe, healthy protocols when shopping for necessities, looking for gifts, or seeking entertainment.
As a retailer, your customers will be looking to you for ways to do all of these, while also minimizing the risk of coming into contact with covid-19.
There are plenty of creative ways to shift your business offerings to fit these fast-changing times. We’ll first give examples of how your existing Erply tools can be used to adapt your business, then will cover industry-specific examples.
Create special deals
Remember, short-term value translates into long-term customer relationships!
Looking to boost sales without discounting your products? Try offering loyalty points at an increased rate to encourage shopper support during covid-19.
Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat business by incentivizing customers to repeatedly choose your store over competitors in exchange for rewards.
Bundles and assemblies
Product bundles and assemblies can be used to sell items together in a group. Product bundles can be used to sell large items together at a slightly discounted price or to help sell slow-moving inventory.
Think subscription boxes, holiday-themed gift sets, or even items commonly purchased together.
Seasonal, event-based, or brand collaborations; there’s never a bad time for a sales promotion! They’re a great way to encourage customer sales by offering enticing product discounts.
Erply’s powerful promotions builder enables you to set up flat discounts, percent discounts, BOGO-type deals, and more.
An alternative to promotions, price lists allow you to create highly specific discounts for any sales campaign. Price lists can target specific product groups, store locations, or even customer segments (think VIP pricing).
Coupons can offer one-time, redeemable rewards. They tie into promotions, but aren’t available to every customer, only the ones who have a coupon or a coupon code.
Improve customer service
Customer service is more than just employee-to-customer interaction; it also includes accessibility and streamlined shopping.
Buy online, pickup in-store
Offer flexible, health-conscious ways for your customers to purchase products in your store. Our e-commerce options allow customers to buy products online, then purchase them in-store.
Flexible retail tools mean you can offer a variety of pickup order options that suit the needs of you and your customers. Purchases can be paid in full, partially paid, or can be paid once the customer arrives for pickup.
Offline mode for sales anywhere
Covid-19 regulations might mean that you’re not able to sell out of your store as you normally would. Maybe you need to make sales on-the-go or from an outside location.
Erply’s offline POS ensures that all sales are accounted for, even if you have no internet access. Once connection resumes, all sales data will sync up to your back office to keep your records accurate.
The ability to make sales and perform basic POS actions without wifi connection means you can think up creative ways to service your customers outside of your physical store.
Depending on your payment hardware, you may be able to accept contactless payments like NFC tap-to-pay, ApplePay, GooglePay, and SamsungPay.
This allows you to offer flexible payment options for your customers, while also protecting them (and your employees) from physical contact.
E-commerce for paid online classes and services
Webstores are a great opportunity to boost sales when your physical store locations are closed or operating at limited capacity.
Can’t sell your products in-store? Try demoing them online instead. Maybe you occasionally host in-store events. Those can be moved to the web, with an e-commerce solution to help you keep track of attendance (online passes can be sold for $0, if needed!)
Right now, you can get set up with Shopify, WooCommerce, or ShopZ.
If you’re offering curbside pickup or phone orders, you can charge customers remotely through your payment processor.
This can be done for curbside pickup phone orders, deliveries, or other unique payment processes that you might be implementing.
Right now, customers using Global Payments (formally TSYS, Cayan) as their payment processor have access to the Genius Vault to charge customers remotely.
If you’re setting up subscription services, you might want to set up recurring billing in your Erply account.
Recurring billing automatically creates product invoices at set increments, which can be billed for any predetermined length of time. Erply does the hard work for you so you can focus on servicing your customers.
Industry-specific retail adaptation ideas
Below, we’ll list some industry-specific ideas on how you can adapt your retail business to the changing times. Be sure to check out all of the sections, even if an industry does not match your business, you might gain inspiration on how certain ideas can be adapted to your specific store!
Most, if not all of these ideas can be implemented online or in-store. Be sure to contact our team if you need e-commerce set up on your Erply account,
Remember, although people are spending more time indoors, those numbers will decrease as states open up and as the weather improves. Try to envision how your products can be used outdoors or during seasonal events while still adhering to social distancing policies.
Areas particularly affected by stay-at-home orders are seeing an increase in one-off fireworks usage, This will, of course, only increase as the weather warms up and we inch closer to summer holidays.
Recommend setting up fireworks bundles to encourage sales, to new and existing customers. Starter packs can be used to help sell slower moving items and introduce new audiences to your store..
Depending on your state’s fireworks regulations, you might also want to set up subscription boxes, or a “fireworks of the month” bundle. Customers can pick up a box each month or sign up for delivery. Both options can take advantage of contactless payments or recurring billing.
Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of promotions and coupons during those summer holidays to increase sales!
Quarantined or not, your green-thumbed customers will still be looking for your expertise on plant care and gardening tips.
We recommend providing online gardening classes with Q&A sessions. These can be paid for in your online store, which may also encourage customers to make additional online purposes.
You also can set up bundle and assembly products in your Erply account to create planter kits or herb sets. Some gardening stores have been offering creative options too, such as a paint your own planter kit.
Sporting events might be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean your customers won’t have a need for your merchandise in the future. Warm weather encourages at-home practice, even if full on competitions are off the table.
Now is a great time to take advantage of sales and coupons to keep inventory moving in preparation for season reopenings. These can come bundled with online training classes that give customers tips and tricks for different sport techniques, stretches, etc.
Online video game sporting alternatives, like NBA 2K and FIFA, can be used to keep your customers engaged with your brand. Try partnering with local schools or recreational leagues to form online brackets, then charge online entry fees for players looking to participate.
Arts and crafts shops
The arts have seen a huge boom during state-wide quarantines. From therapeutic activities to creating artwork that supports good causes, such as Healthcare Heros or Rainbow Hunt, there’s a place for craft shops in every home. You might also want to consider bundling items that can be used to create drive-by signage.
Online classes or video tutorials are a popular indoor activity that you can sell to your customers through an online webshop. Maybe your shop hosted paint and sip nights. You can either take these to the web, or provide customers with resources and ideas to host their own.
Did you know that the color red is the hardest color to capture on photo and video? As more and more people adjust to working from home, promotions and coupons can be used to highlight webcam-friendly clothing and accessories.
If you want to take on a more hands-on response to covid-19, you can try to repurpose inventory items to create protective face masks. What’s more, you can offer online classes on how to transform different clothing items into face masks.
All of the above can be done using a basic e-commerce platform!
Wellness is a huge focus during these coronavirus times, which means you can attract new customers by offering different wellness-themed bundles and packages. You may want to set up subscription boxes using Erply’s recurring billing tools.
Brainstorm creative ideas for your products, such as webcam beauty tips for women and men. Bonus points if you can partner with actual customers or a local influencer and work a creative social hashtag to build a sense of community. You can even use coupon codes to encourage more of these sales, and commission an influencer from right within Erply.