In today’s blog, we will trace a mythical Pet Food Shop and offer practical and real-world advice to this business owner. In the middle of April, we are now far enough into the pandemic that the severity and the questions covered in today’s post are no longer hypothetical. The good news is, there are options for small retailers. Let’s set up the situation for our mythical Pet Food Shop owner. The overall purpose of this blog is to inspire and cause retail owners to dream about new ways of doing business during this time of isolation, but also to set them up well for when the economy begins to recover.
Currently Government regulations have established that a Pet food store is an essential service, so they are allowed to be open, but staff and customers have expressed strong reservations about “entering” the store due to the cramped nature of the store layout.
The company has some money in the bank, but it is clear that some of the product on the shelves will need to be turned back into cash to help stay ahead of the bills, in the next 45 days. So, what steps can we recommend to help move some of the product on the shelf and keep the store operating? You are aware that your typical SKU size is a 20kg bag of dog food, and a 10kg bag of cat foot – both will last for a month. So, here is the danger and the opportunity – if you can’t communicate that you are there for them they might turn to the lower cost options from the department and grocery chains – places of business they need to go into anyway.
Recommendations to this owner:
1. Stay connected to your customers – You need to publish a Facebook page – start targeting dog and cat lovers in your community.
2. Consider ways to keep your business running – we have started this in the ideas above
3. Keep your employees Safe and Informed – have a staff meeting (zoom video for 40 minutes) to position safety and get their ideas on how to connect with customers.
4. Get examples and Inspiration from others – Facebook has ideas
These recommendations – especially if you were to hire the help of a young marketer (does not have to be expensive) will result in an effective “relaunch” of your business and offering you the chance to “capture your client’s information”. If you can capture your client’s information, you can begin to interact with them in ways that help you achieve your “new business goals.”
The strategy above is good, but it’s not optimal. Optimal with limited additional cost and effort would set you up for the long term in terms of using your customer data. If you were to use a Customer Relationship Manager system like the Dynamics 365 CRM online system (monthly fee) and connect it to the Facebook Ads (yes you can do that – no rekeying) as new clients enter their contact information you could begin to add personalized touches like:
In your CRM – with additional information you could target customers whose dogs are no longer puppies and schedule an appointment for your staff to meet “insert dogs name here”, to relook at the nutritional needs of your pet. You could arrange for a sample bag for the dog at the meeting – to make sure the dog likes the chosen food BEFORE the client buys a 20KG bag.
This way, with email campaigns targeted at your client’s specific needs – you can focus on yes keeping your client information up to date – but actively having connections with these owners and their pets. If we haven’t learnt anything so far from this COVID-19 pandemic, is the need to stay connected. It’s good for the heart, it’s also good for your business.
If your business is looking for ideas on how technology solutions like Facebook Business and Microsoft Dynamics 365 can help you through this time, reach out to Mibusoft and one of our retail business professionals will be happy to do a FREE 30 minute Remote Video call with you today. It’s what we do.