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Retail Sales Outlook: What This Means For Your Business

By October 29, 2020No Comments

Retail sales are changing—now more than ever. 

According to Deloitte, “Forward-thinking retailers are setting high expectations for the rest of the industry.” Convenience, consumer expectations, and digital trends are all driving factors that are fundamentally changing the way businesses should approach retail sales in the coming years. 

As we all know, the coronavirus has dramatically disrupted the retail sector, with the shock differing massively between brick-and-mortar versus online shops, essential versus nonessential stores, and small versus large retailers.

In this article, we’ve summed up some key outlook on retail sales and operations in 2020 and beyond, including what this may mean for your business. 

Let’s get started!

Retail Sales Outlook: What This Means For Your Business

Promotion of local shopping & supporting of local businesses

Now more than ever, we should be supporting local businesses. The Retail Council of Canada (RCC), like many others, are encouraging retail businesses to promote local shopping and customers to do the same. As we’ve seen over the past few months, many businesses are re-focusing their messaging on shopping locally. This could mean choosing to service your car at a local small automotive shop, joining a local gym, or purchasing a birthday gift at a local gift shop rather than the usual (Amazon). Whatever path you choose, these efforts won’t go unnoticed for local businesses and their retail sales, which may be severely impacted due to coronavirus regulations.

Not sure about how your efforts can make a positive impact? Here are some key benefits for supporting local businesses: 

  • Retail sales of local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbours and community members
  • It’s good for the environment. Local businesses leave a smaller carbon footprint than their larger retail counterparts 
  • Local businesses are more likely to be accountable with its retail sales in terms of their local communities (i.e. donating to charities and other non-profit organizations), so it’s a win-win scenario
  • Local businesses are much more likely to use other local businesses to run their operations like service providers, farms, and banks 

So, what does it mean for your business? 

To improve retail sales, businesses should promote this cause in-person and online where possible. This includes their email marketing, through partnerships with various food delivery apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and Skip The Dishes, and through their social media platforms. Reminding customers to #supportlocal could be the make or break scenario for a business. It’s also a great way to support others within your community in a time where everyone needs it the most! 

There’s more distrust in businesses now when it comes to health & safety

Health and safety have become paramount as cases rise globally. It’s become far-reaching in recent months due to health and safety protocols set out by government regulations to protect our communities from the coronavirus. Unfortunately, a recent Ipsos study highlights that 1 in 5 Canadians don’t trust any industry for their cleanliness and safety protocols. Admit it, your inbox is one of the millions across the world that has recently exploded with COVID-19 messaging, replacing the typical barrage of targeted promotions. 

Customers are now looking for companies, both existing and new ones, to do their part in taking care of their staff, customers, and communities. 

So, what does it mean for your business? 

If you currently run a retail business, start by asking yourself: 

  • Do I need a coronavirus statement? 
  • If I do, what should it say? 
  • Do I share it publicly? And if so, how do I communicate it to my customers without sounding insincere, insensitive, or as if I’m taking advantage of the situation?

Once you’ve got that out of the way, here are a few ways that you can start (beyond messaging):

  • Show your existing and new customers that you care and are acting on it. This is key if your staff or customers will be impacted by the coronavirus directly when interacting with your business
  • Establish clearly written safety protocols that are being followed at your stores. Communicate this both internally and externally
  • Stay abreast of reputable sources, such as the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control

Online (aka eCommerce) is king

Starting an online retail business is now accessible to all. Essentially everything you need to successfully run an online retail business is available online—many of which are affordable for small business owners. There are so many all-in-one and simple eCommerce platforms for retailers to build, manage, and grow their businesses with no technical background. 

So, what does it mean for your business? 

It’s time to get on it! Whether you want to start one, or are currently planning to add a digital storefront to your existing brick-and-mortar store, we’ve got you! 

Find more information on digital tools, like eCommerce software, that you can use to improve your retail sales and operations here.   

The general outlook is uncertain, but it doesn’t mean your retail sales have to be

It’s clear that the way retailers use to approach retail sales no longer applies. As coronavirus and the search for a vaccine continues to have no defined timeline, increasingly retail businesses must adapt to become “forward-thinking,” as Deloitte put it in a recent study. By not only considering these retail sales outlook, but by taking action, retail businesses have a much higher chance of getting to the other side once this is all over.

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