As we all look to the reopening of non-essential retail in April, store owners across the UK can start to plan their strategy for returning to the physical, in-person market with a bang. Brand Consultant, Elizabeth Stiles shares the things you can be doing right now that will pay dividends once April comes around.
Identify your best-sellers
80% of your sales tend to come from just 20% of your stock, so this is where you should be focusing your energy and time as you prepare to re-open your store.
Find out exactly what it is that your customers love about these products and find clever ways through visual merchandising and promotion to highlight them. What’s more, be creative and find new stock that also shares these favourite elements, as they are likely to be your next best seller too.
If your inventory is accessible, analysing and organising it ahead of your reopening is a great use of your time right now. Knowing how much stock you have within the business and making a plan for promotion, sales, stock rotation and visual merchandising is crucial. For example, a client of mine recently did a stock check and realised they actually had far more stock than they thought and, as such, refocused their efforts towards marketing rather than buying.
Get to know your customers
The best way to know what your customers will want upon your reopening is to simply ask them. If structured phone calls or focus groups feels too formal, then turn to social media to speak with them in a more approachable way. Ask them what they’re looking for, how they want to buy and what kind of content they want to see from you.
Knowing your audience’s expectations of you at this time will help you and your team make confident decisions within your plan.
Plan your content
Some of my clients feel they’ve lost touch with what their brand stands for over the past year. During times of difficulty, it’s important to reconnect with your purpose in order to communicate authentically.
Take some time to re-assess any pre-prepared content (including influencer campaigns) to make sure it’s still reflective of the current climate, your audience’s needs and views and your brand positioning. Responsible content creation and curation is so important right now.
After asking your audience what they want to see from you, plan some curated, timely content for them to enjoy. Break up sales posts with valuable content so that it doesn’t feel too heavy on selling.
If you have news, new products or a unique angle to share, then now is the time to pitch it to the press.
Great PR will be invaluable in helping you to grow your audience and excitement around your store’s reopening.
For more insight on where to get started, watch this chat between January Furniture Show and Press Loft, all about how to get started with a winning PR strategy.
Lastly, remember to turn on Google Alerts for your name and business to monitor anyone mentioning you!
This article has been adapted from a piece originally written for our sister show, Top Drawer. If you’d like to discuss your brand strategy with Elizabeth further, please get in touch with her via firstname.lastname@example.org