The first in our series of blogs ( High Street Recovery Business Workshops ) with expert Clare Bailey, AKA The Retail Champion. Referred to as a 'Walking Encyclopaedia of Retail', Clare is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK, with unrivalled knowledge on retail, high streets, and consumer matters.
In this first blog, Clare covers why continued communication with your customers is KING right now and the different ways you can keep talking to them…
At a time when you simply can’t have the face-to-face interaction that set most independent businesses apart from chain competition, it has never been more important to talk to customers – but how?
The simple answer is to use every method at your disposal! If you have email addresses, then email them (if you don’t have a loyalty system or a CRM then take a look at some of the simple email marketing tools on the market). Make emails relevant, honest and engaging – use images and remind customers how much you miss them.
If you don’t have email addresses, don’t worry, all is not lost. Think about your customers – who they are and what kind of social media they might use. Different genders and age groups use different platforms. Once you decide which works for you, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or something else, then start posting.
Use hashtags in your social posts to link your content to other content that people might be following e.g. #christmasshopping #giftideas #christmasgifts #christmasdinner #shopsmall and be sure to use location hashtags to make sure you’re visible to your most local customers such as #Sheffield #Woodseats depending where you’re based. To get more ideas have a look at what others are doing on their social channels.
Whatever you do, post regularly and don’t just promote – talk about trends, share other posts that may interest your customers, and if they reply make sure you reply back and engage with them- even just liking positive comments that don't require a reply, can make customers feel valued.
If you are a hairdresser or beauty business, you may be limited with products you have available to sell online, but you can still keep communicating with your customers about your plans and get your appointment book ready for a surge in bookings post-lockdown.
If you think you can’t do it – you can – as Sharron, owner of Sharly Barly, a women’s High Street fashion boutique in Mosborough, learned in the last lockdown. Using regular (at least daily) videos where she speaks as if 1-2-1 to her Facebook audiences, she has quadrupled her sales since March – she will tell you herself- if she can, anyone can!
For further tips, there are also lots of amazing blogs and free online resources for small businesses, who want to get started on social media. You’ll see there are lots just by Googling, but if you’re not sure where to start, check out www.maybetech.com who are part of the High Street Task Force and see their blog.
For more Top Tips to help High Street Businesses during lockdown and beyond- see Clare’s blog series here: High Street Recovery Business Workshops along with recordings of Clare's recent webinars on how businesses can continue to operate during lockdown restrictions.
As always, Business Sheffield’s team of advisors are available to support any businesses that need advice and guidance. Contact the team on 0114 224 5000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to talk to someone about your business situation.