Need more customers in your shop or online store? It’s time to think outside the box. Depending on the nature of your business, whether you are a high street shop or if you are a purely online business, I have separated this article into two halves.
If your business is on the high street
It’s an incredibly tough time for businesses on the high street. Whether you are a retail business, pub, restaurant or cafe, there’s never been a more testing time than now. Council parking charges, high business rates and rental, lack footfall and e-commerce appealing to ‘stay at home shoppers’ are all factors that are seriously affecting sales.
So how does your business fight back?
The high street has been going through a transformation over the last ten years. In 2020 Covid-19 dealt a crushing blow to many UK businesses causing financial difficulties for business owners and low consumer spending.
So how can your business fight back post Covid-19 pandemic?
Understand the new market conditions. How are people shopping now? What products are selling well and how can your business adapt to change?
Talk to other business owners- discuss what is working and what isn’t. By collaborating with other business owners you can increase your offering ten fold.
For example, a local company pre Covid19 were just delivering fruit (mainly as wholesale) to other businesses. Almost overnight they adapted to change and started a home-delivery service. Not only that, but they also combined their delivery service with a local bakery, butcher and deli to create a home-delivery service.
It’s a good starting point for the next task.
Organise a business forum for your high street. This could be a weekly meeting, or, better still a closed group on Facebook where you can discuss a variety of topics.
Research other high streets, the ones where they are making it a success. Look at how they came together to introduce ideas and high street projects to drive footfall. How they created ‘more than a high street’. How you can also create a more immersive experience.
Ideas to consider within your forum:
Look for a closer working relationship with your local and community council – involve them in your forum.
Discuss ideas to bring people to the high street; these could be ideas such as:
- A Food street market.
- An artisan market, craft or farmers market.
- A festival – maybe music, arts or culture or all three!
Think of ways to keep the project going rather than a one-off event. Once a project is self-sufficient it can run all year round with the smallest team able to run it smoothly.
If you have a restaurant and your doors only open at certain times, why not think about creating a space for pop-up shops for small enterprises and start-up businesses. A great way to utilise premises and maximise footfall for all (while creating a small sub income stream).
Make sure your business is maximising its sales potential. By selling online, you can increase your market reach and increase sales twenty-four hours a day. Get it working hard for you and the rewards can be enormous. See the next section.
If your business is an Online Store
You may already be selling on Facebook, Shopify, eBay, Etsy or another online store. It’s there, and it’s plodding along, maybe having busy and quiet periods as most do. So, how do you take it to the next level? How do you get more sales?
Build up your social presence.
Look at what you are currently doing on social media. Check out the competition who are ahead of you. What content are they posting out on social media? How often do they post and what’s the nature of the content? Is it content that is engaging or is it very sales orientated? If the page has a large following on Facebook, you can bet their content is engaging and less on sales promotion.
Think about emulating what is working for others.
Build your social presence, push your fresh content out on social media. Don’t just re-post other posts from other pages. Your customers will appreciate your content. For example, if you are a restaurant business, shoot a video of the lengths you go to to find fresh produce. Maybe ask your chef to create a video recipe – an excellent example of a way to reach new customers.
Reward your audience with ways of thanking them while creating sales. By expressing your gratitude for following you and your business you can offer discounts and voucher codes to spend online.
Ask them to support your business. Not just through sales but by asking them to share and like your post or business page. Helping a small business this way is equally important and doesn’t cost them anything.