The vast majority of retail businesses have unfortunately been adversely affected by Covid which has had a knock-on effect on suppliers and partners to the retail industry. When times are tough, it pays to focus on what’s right for your business.
At CloudBox Inc, we took some time out to identify what we needed to do to minimize the negative effects of Covid and came up with 3 simple mantras.
We’ve already successfully implemented steps 1 and 2 (with content that you can see here: RSPA Community IQ: Flexible pricing strategy to maximize revenue in omnichannel retail and RSPA Community IQ: Help retailers focus on an in-store pricing strategy) resulting in high open rates and click through rates (>30% and >10% respectively) and are now (happily!) working on step 3.
1. Communicate with your customers and prospects.
Let them know you’re still around and able to support them.
With some customers reluctant to have face to face meetings, your website needs to speak even louder for you. Customer references can be a key contributor to winning new business. Can you persuade some of your loyal customers to contribute a customer quote or, better still, a case study to your website?
With many businesses having to cut their marketing spend so you may find that advertising, in whatever format you normally use, costs less now. For example, with fewer demands for key words in web searches, you can make your marketing budget go further and may be able to reach a new prospective audience. Some businesses are thriving in these difficult times. For example, those focused on home working solutions (desks, chairs, screens, storage, etc.), home improvement solutions, and hobbies that can be done indoors such as arts & crafts, model building, ham/amateur radio, etc.
There may be many more that you can think of. Focus on these growing businesses with your solutions.
And do some internal brainstorming. Ask your salespeople for their ideas. Often, they are expected to just bring in the orders, but they are the ones hearing all the objections to a customer spending money. They may have some creative ideas that can be incorporated into marketing campaigns.
Remember, if you reduce your customer communications, your competitors may not, and your customers may choose to talk to your competitors in the future.
2. Focus on your customers’ needs
I’m sure you’ve seen the famous quote: The species that survives is the one that is best able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. (It’s actually a paraphrase of something that Darwin said.) Show that you understand that your customers’ business may have changed dramatically as a result of the pandemic. Use their language not yours and ensure that you show empathy.
When consumer spending tightens, retail businesses need to ensure that customers who enter their stores have the best possible experience, resulting in maximum possible spend.
How can your solutions help them achieve that? If you are to keep the trust of your customers, you have to be sure that your solution will benefit them. Shoppers have become more savvy and typically research prices of larger ticket items before setting foot in a store. But, when budgets are tight, even small ticket items come under scrutiny. Can your solutions help ensure that their online pricing accurately reflects store pricing, that they have enough flexibility in their pricing systems to change prices dynamically, when the circumstances require it
3. Expect to have your pricing models put under pressure
Business leaders agree that companies that invest in times of recession are better placed to outperform their competitors, but even simple solutions can make a significant difference. It’s all about investing in the right areas.
Retail customers who decide to spend money on solutions may feel entitled to a better deal during the pandemic. They may feel that it’s a buyers’ market now. So, understand your margins. If you have to discount your offer in some way, what will have the least impact on your bottom line? How can you build more value into your offer without increasing the cost?
Can you offer a free trial solution while ensuring you have mechanisms in place to follow up once the free trial is over? Can you market a free pilot solution on the understanding that the cost will be recouped when the client buys your solutions? Can you offer some free consultancy …. a free audit of their business which may highlight some areas in which you can help them to be more successful?