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Tips from Wisconsin Main Street
Retail & Service Business Strategies
Retail and service businesses may need to be creative to accommodate new customer habits. Considering the needs of home-bound customers can help shape effective strategies for your business is essential for maintaining even a minimum of sales during the next eight weeks. Consider the following list of potential strategies, grouped by business type, to identify strategies that may work for your business.
- Online Sales – If you don’t already, create an online sales platform, whether as a standalone offering on your existing website or –
- Delivery Options/Curbside Pickup – allow customers to pickup online orders at the curb or have them delivered locally. Consider creating delivery bundles to make this cost-effective. Learn-to knit kits, craft-in-a-box, movie-watching-pjs-for-the-family, etc. –
- Themed bundle options work well: Bookstores might have mystery lovers bundles, biography lovers bundles, kids bundles, etc.
- Pet stores – Create bundles of everything their pet might need for a 2 to 3-month period: dog food/treats/toy bundles, cat food/litter/catnip bundles. It’s not anything they wouldn’t buy anyway; you’re just bundling up enough to last a while.
- Toy stores – Create bundles for families to stay busy: game and puzzle bundles, arts and crafts bundles, construction toy bundles.
- Vacuum stores – Create bundles with vacuum bags and cleaning supplies to keep the house disinfected and safe.
- Membership Pricing – create pre-paid membership programs to spur cash flow now with a promise of future regular engagement. Wine of the month club, Knitting club, etc. Nearly any retail good can be bundled into a monthly membership option
- Online Forums – knitting circles, tutorials, home shopping events, story hour from the bookstore
- Customized Online Services – personal shopping, home design consultations, etc.
- Not sure what your customers need? Practice personal clienteling. Take a look at the Top 20% of your customers and have your employees call them up and ask what they might need – then deliver it.
Personal Service Providers
- Online/Virtual Appointments – therapists, health care, etc. can utilize online appointments (Facebook Messenger has one scheduling option) to schedule virtual appointments to those that can’t come in person.
- Membership options can provide cash today and future customer loyalty. A vet membership can cover basic vet care with a monthly fee, people can pre-book future massages, facials, haircuts or other services at a discount to bring in cash today.
- Live stream fitness classes to those at home. –
- Offer virtual training or form correction to those at home.
- Host a monthly challenge for users to upload screen shots or watch photos of their at-home workouts to log minutes for prizes.
- Delivery/Curbside Pickup – allow customers to order ahead for delivery or pickup. See the resource guide at the end of this document for setting up delivery partnerships.
- Family Meal Options – consider a family meal option that packages a family-friendly meal (main dish and sides) as a dinner-to-go option.
- Continue your existing bar trivia events with online live-stream options (after, of course, coordinating for pickup of growlers-to-go).
Arts & Cultural Institutions
- Custom curated/celebrity live-stream tours of venues or displays.
- Author or artist discussion chats.
- For individual artists impacted by closed studios, illness or canceled events, the following resources may be of assistance:
Developing an online marketplace has always been a sound strategy for downtown businesses hoping to grow their customer base, but it is now an essential tool for attracting home-bound customers with more time for online shopping and social media exposure. If your business is not already selling via online platforms, the following tips and links provide information to get you up and running quickly. Additional detailed instructions are available in the resources section at the end of this document.
Example Marketing Materials
Product Catalog – Links your ecommerce store to your Facebook profile to sell directly on Facebook. Buy now and shop buttons are available to customers. Alternatively, buying via comment to Facebook posts and direct sales via Paypal can work as well, or a combination of online and virtual shopping sales.
Shoppable Posts – When selling on Instagram, you can connect product catalog like you can on Facebook since the platforms are linked together Selling on Social Media: A Complete Walkthrough https://sproutsocial.com/insights/topics/selling-onsocial-media/
Increasing your Social Media Presence
Create social media graphics using Canva! Canva is a free web app that allows you to edit photos, add text and more.