In combination with the tax refund benefits that the CARES Act is currently providing to small business owners, we have compiled a list of ways to invest in your space and business to make small but impactful updates that your customers will notice.
As the world has scrambled to respond to the unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic, grocery stores are more vital than ever in keeping communities going.
As a store owner in these times, you have a unique opportunity to create a space and a socially aware and physically safe presence to reassure customers that grocery shopping can still be an enjoyable experience. We have compiled a list of tips, tricks, and actionable solutions to help with that.
To learn more about the CARES Act and see which of these solutions qualify as Quality Improvement Property (QIP), you can visit our article: "The CARES Act" The Retail Tax Refund.
PERSONALIZED DECOR UPDATES
Have you ever wished that you could bring a little more life to your store while keeping it consistent with your brand's look? If so, you don't always have to overhaul your store's entire decor. You can make high-impact changes with minimal effort by updating a few key pieces of existing signage or introduce new temporary signage relevant to the global health situation we are all currently facing.
Aisle Markers are a necessary wayfinding tool that customers rely on and see most frequently in their everyday shopping experience. Even though they are essential assets in any retail setting, they are also luckily one of the easier things to refresh to fit your store's specific style.
As your style evolves and design trends change, aisle markers are one of the items that begin to stick out like a sore thumb quickly. They either stop matching your brand or appear very generic because they were designed to fit any store. Your store doesn't have to be dated or generic; personalized aisle markers are a great way to create consistency in the shopping experience.
As retail enthusiasts, concerned with helping grocers create impactful spaces, we have developed a range of made-to-order aisle markers personalized to your brand. To make matters easier, we are currently offering up to a 10% rebate and bonus credit on eligible aisle marker products until July 31st. Visit us at www.decorworx.shop to view the entire collection.
Food photography combined with wayfinding and departmental signage captivates, excites, and educates your customers about the food and services they're buying. It's important to use branded imagery and is a primary way you can breathe some new life into your store. The imagery used on valances and in secondary signage are usually large in scale and, by nature, significantly impact the emotions of your repeat customers when they see them.
Imagine the effect it would have on them if they came to shop one day and you had changed your old photography out for new photography.
Our custom services allow us to work with you on retrofitting your existing framework and your brand's style to replace current photography. However, if you're satisfied with your valance design, but are looking to add more interest to your center store areas, we offer additional photography options, such as hanging banners, small edutainment signage, and curated photography libraries. You can view our catalog at www.decorworx.shop
Social Distancing and Safety Signage
Grocery stores are an essential business; even if COVID-19 hadn't happened, it just seemed to make it more apparent that we need our local grocers more than ever. Like many other grocers around the nation, you have to create not only an engaging space, but a safe one for your customers day in and day out, and sometimes that can be a hard balance, but informative and protective signage can make it easier.
Temporary signage plays a huge role in creating a safe environment as it works to inform your customers about the cleanliness of your store and enforce recommended guidelines. This is why we created our COVID-19 Response Collection to help our independent grocers protect their customers and their business. Our products include directional distancing floor graphics, safety barriers, courtesy decals, and much more. Visit our shop to see how we can help you safeguard your business today.
EVALUATE YOUR STRATEGY
Most grocers are focused on the store's look, and often the strategy is overlooked, even though it is the most crucial part of a business's operations! Without a plan, there is no direction, nothing for their team to buy into, and no foresight to keep them connected to customers and their market.
Strategy is a combination of your goals, business plan, and implementation strategy. You can set your business apart and give it the boost it needs by really evaluating if you're leveraging your current strategy to create the optimal retail experience. If the answer is no, then below are a few tips on making it work for you.
Have you ever wondered why your competition seems to always be one step ahead, or how they can easily handle the ever-changing retail environment? They're not magic; they're just proactive. Like any business that aims to be successful, they have most likely created a plan to achieve success, and they stick to it.
A strategy is personal and unique to each business, and what works for one may not work for another. Still, the approach to developing an elaborate operational plan is a moldable process. An easy way to get started developing a strategy that you, your team, and customers can get behind is to begin goal forecasting. We recommend following the 1, 3, and 10-year model.
Start with the end in mind and begin planning your 10-Year Target. It is your long-term, larger than life goal, and works to unite everyone around a common objective — in other words; it is your North Star. Ten years is a long time, and a lot can change, but having a loose idea of what you're striving for will help you direct your energy, resources, and decisions, allowing you to grow faster and reach goals quicker.
Next is painting your 3-Year Picture. 3-years is a perfect window of time where not much will change, and the goal you set should be actionable and measurable. This goal helps you paint a vivid image of what your business will look like, feel like, and be like in the future. You will review this goal annually to make sure you're on track, and if not, you can adjust accordingly.
Finally, after establishing the big things, you can work on creating your 1-Year Plan. The Plan is where the rubber meets the road, and you can see where your business is gaining actual traction. This goal should be achievable and will define the steps necessary to get it done. A good plan will inform your team of how they fit in and why it moves your business forward.
With all three timelines in place, you should see measurable improvement in your business, more engaged employees, and be better equipped to respond to unforeseen changes.
INTERACTION IS KEY
As customers move away from traditional brick and mortar retail and begin to shop online, it has never been more critical as a business to have an established and interactive digital presence. This shift has transitioned the way we as consumers have experience and have found that while we might like convenience, we love authentic connection more, but we still want both.
As grocers, you have the unique opportunity to leverage your essential services across your retail space and your digital space. Since the connection is key l presence should engage, educate, and make your customer's lives easier.
Establish or assess your digital presence
You can't create interaction if you don't have a presence. To begin creating meaningful moments, you need to look at what your presence currently looks like, and if you don't have one, you need to decide what you want it to look like, and create it. It's important to make sure people can find you, and the easiest way to do so is by utilizing a website, social media, and even a blog. To keep it running efficiently, designate 1 or 2 people to oversee content and posting. This will help keep your brand voice consistent and help keep your presence top of mind.
Educate & Empower
Now that you've established yourself, it's time to start creating content that engages your customers. Content can be several different things, and you will know what is best for your business and customers, but the 80/20 rule is a good guideline for most companies.
When using the 80/20 rule, keep in mind that 80% of the time, you will want to be publishing content that engages, informs, and educates your customers, and the other 20% will be used to promote yourself or your products. The idea behind this rule, and the reason it is so effective, is because your audience wants to learn more about you, your industry, and feel more connected to the community related to you.
Whichever way you want to split up your content is up to you, but make sure you're creating stuff that you feel can connect and do it consistently. Below are some ways a grocer may use the 80/20 rule.
People love to learn, and you can be a great teacher by sharing new recipes and cooking tutorials utilizing your products and expertise. Work on creating regular tutorials via Instagram, Facebook, and your website. This will engage people and empower your customers to have confidence in using your products.
To be transparent about the current situation with COVID-19, an excellent way to educate your customers is by talking about the measure you're taking to keep their shopping experience clean and safe. It's a good way to instill confidence and trust when choosing to come to your store.
No matter the department, each store has a collection of specialty products that are unique to them. Help them be discovered quicker by creating a post or a video talking about the product and detailing its uses.
Highlight your employees, and talk about who they are and what makes them such a significant part of your team. This will help customers get comfortable with the people helping them and instill a stronger community sense.
Create a place for discussion from your customers by posing questions about what they like about their experiences when it comes to shopping. It's a great way to get them talking and thinking about you, and also gives you valuable feedback about the things that your customers care about.
Use your platform(s) to talk all about your business news. Publicize your hours, policies, weekly specials, events, etc. These posts can be short and sweet and will keep everyone aware of what's happening with you.
Do you have regular store events for your customers to come and directly interact with you rather than just the time they spend shopping? If not, consider introducing activities (BBQ' s/cookouts, tastings, cooking classes, etc.) that will highlight your products and give you some good one-on-one time with your community's foodies. Use this 20% space to promote these events to get customers excited about their shopping experience.