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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So, Retailing Is Dead, Right?

"Retailing dead?" Hardly!

“Retailing” is selling to the ultimate consumer. That is not going away, in spite of the current perception. 

What IS (appropriately!) endangered? Deadly retail real estate! 
Conventional, impersonal, and boring brick-n-mortar stores are deadly.

Savvy merchants are re-imagining their stores as the new “third place”, offering a community separate from home or workplace. Especially in the next 12-15 months, offering a place for enthusiasts of a store’s brand or products will be invaluable. 

Many consumers will likely lack discretionary buying power.

But more than ever, they will crave a sense of community. Remote jobs and working from home have only increased  this desire. 

 

That’s where re-imagined retail stores can shine. They may function almost like a clubhouse, places where customers will want to hang out.

Whether it’s a pet store, kitchen store, auto parts, hardware, electronics, apparel stores, bookstores, jewelry stores; no matter the merchandise, there are enthusiasts who care about it, and want to be close to it. 

 

What constitutes success?

New metrics will need to be applied to these re-imagined stores. Instead of the old metrics of sales per square foot, or sales per employee, stores now will be treated by suppliers much more like a media platform.

Just like a website, or social media presence, this new generation of brick-n-mortar stores should be evaluated for their advertising and marketing outreach.

How effectively are they positioning and reinforcing the store’s brand?

Do they tell the story?

Are they filling this need?

Are they good “influencers?”

Are they adequately appealing to and bonding with their loyalists?

 

That customer relationship, that connection, is meaningful for retailer and customer alike. And it is just one of the many changes enlivening retailing today. 

"Is retailing dead?" Heck no. In our opinion, it's more alive than ever!



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