“If you always do what you always did, you will get what you always got”
As the great Albert Einstein once said, “if you always do what you always did, you will get what you always got”.
For many independent local retailers, large or small, CoVid-19 has changed the behavioural ways of consumers, if not forever then at least for the next number of years. Medical and scientific experts are predicting lockdown are going to be part of the norm for the next couple of years at least until a vaccine is found and administered to the population.
For many independent retailers, the lock-down has meant lock-up. Lock the front door of the shop until restrictions have lifted. But the big questions for them is not going to be how many cobwebs there will be but how do I get back to trading successfully, what trading rules will be in place, has my stock perished or is it still in fashion?
What will be the new normal?
According to most, if not all, retail experts and consultants any shop owner who is under the illusion that they will just unlock the door, clean the cobwebs and business will resume normally will have big problems. Consumer behaviour has changed and with it, so will the behaviour of the retailer. Shop owners, as well as staff, are going to have to adjust their roles and become content creators, social-media managers, they will have to spend time doing developing their digital presence. They are going to have to connect with shoppers in new marketplaces.
Historically, for many independent shop owners they never did this because they felt it was only the preserve of the large chains, who were backed up by large IT departments to oversee, and change, content. They felt e‑commerce platforms were very expensive or confusing to use and above all they didn’t feel that they needed too. But today this is wrong on all accounts. It is easier than ever to create, publish and maintain digital content, create a number of new services for your customers such as Click & Collect, Click, Reserve & Collect, Click & Deliver.
Traditionally, these were not services most local independent retailers offered, for the reasons mentioned above. But these are services local retailers will need to offer to create loyalty and repeat custom in the future. If you do not somebody will. In order to survive, a greater level of engagement and connections with customers will be required, this is easily and affordably done over digital.
If you are prepared to adapt and change what you always did, well who knows what you might get!
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”
One of Henry Ford many wise quotes “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”. This has never been truer now for independent retail. The creation of a retailer community and collaboration with your, fellow retailers in your community, has never been more important.
Rather than spending money and expending energy developing an individual offering, come together to create a town/regional “together is stronger” strategy. Does it make sense to have 20 retailers each spending money for the same integration work? Does it make sense for 20 independent retailers to spend time marketing their individual digital offering? Most importantly, does it make sense for your customers to have to spend their time going to 20 different retailers’ site?
By coming together, offering a singular digital touchpoint for your town or region, centrally marketed to your customers you will create a successful retail proposition for both you and your community.
As part of Integrated Worlds Citizen Connect platform for Smart Cities and Regions, we help retailers achieve a strong e‑commerce presence, develop communities and much more.