Independent Retailers and the COVID-19 Crisis

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Since March 2, 2020, The ROI's Co-Founders have been offering insights, strategic approaches, and online resources for independent retailers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

These appeared first in The ROI NEWS.

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Is 2020 Getting You Down?

Is 2020 continuing to wear you down? No surprise. And no shame in that!

Retailers are among the most optimistic folks we know. But the relentlessness of the disruptions and in some cases tragedies of the three pandemics – the virus, the economic meltdown, and the civil unrest – followed by the wildfires in the West and the hurricanes in the Southeast, now compounded by the uncertainties of national election. Oh, and then there's the impending flu season. And... And...

It IS a lot. And it feels as if there is no relief in sight. But maybe there is. 

 

All of which brought to mind our work with a retailer during the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Beset by a similar compounding of dire and uncontrollable threats, one of the owners shared his technique for maintaining his sanity: get out onto the sales floor. Talk to the customers! 

  • As he explained*, "The vendors are unhappy. The bankers are unhappy. The landlords are unhappy. Employees are tired and worried. But the customers – they are very happy! They're happy to be able to come shop (especially since so many others were closing.) They love our products; they care about how we're doing."

Great advice, isn't it? Especially for retailers. When times get discouraging, go talk with the customers! Wherever you can find them.

Sure, there may not be as many of them as Before The Pandemics. But don't let your remorse about that prevent you from enjoying those who do come to your store!

  • This can be true whether they can come in person, or virtually. Whole new generations (we're looking at you, Boomers) have learned how to use Zoom. 
  • Engaging with your online visitors can also be energizing. Even seeing whether there are upticks in the number of people on your site can spur you on.

Yes, retailers are optimistic. But even more fundamental, retailers are people-people. They draw energy from other people.

So – especially when the news of the day can seem so downbeat, seek out your customers. And enjoy!

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* (Remember when you said that, John? We sure do!)



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