Published Dec 7, 2020 by Rick Cundiff
“And so this is Christmas … the road is so long.”
That sums up 2020, courtesy of John Lennon. It has been such a freakin’ long road to get us to this point. But here we are, at last.
We’re still quarantined, as of this writing. But there are certainly signs of hope for next year as we work to valiantly stagger across the finish line of the Year of the Virus.
There’s hope on the horizon. We’re on the verge of seeing Covid-19 vaccines approved for distribution. That’s amazing progress, from a virus no one had heard of to a vaccine to prevent it in only a year. Who couldn’t take that as a good omen for 2021?
I’m confident we’ll be getting back to normal next year. Yes, we’ll be back in Daytona Beach for Bike Week. You bet we’ll be going to concerts and festivals, making new business connections at trade shows and conventions, celebrating with friends and family.
Will it be different? Sure. Some things have changed forever. Take in-person shopping, for example. Lots of people have discovered how easy it is to order online. That’s going to make it even harder for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete.
So how does the small business owner fight back? How do you, the little shop on the corner of Broadway and Main in Smalltown, compete with Amazon, Best Buy, 1-800-Flowers and all the rest?
Honestly, it’s not easy. You already know that. It’s never been easy. But to survive the new environment, you have to give your customers more value than ever before. Most people want to support their hometown merchants, but when times are tough, they need to maximize the value of their dollars.
Think. What does your business provide that the big online retailers can’t? What gives your customers a reason to think of you first? What can you do to give them more reasons?
How about free delivery? Whether a product or service, can you bring it right to the customer’s doorstep? What about adding a guarantee for your product or service?
Sometimes you can throw in added products. Let’s say you sell vacuum cleaners. How about you give your customers a free package of bags, or an annual machine tune-up discount? A free loaner for machines being repaired? Mobile repair services?
It’s all about adding value, not necessarily having the lowest cost. Put together a welcome package of goodies for new customers. If you run a restaurant, include a coupon for 50% off two meals. Flower shop? Offer a free rose one day a week – Date Night Fridays, for example.
And don’t forget the value of custom patches in promoting your brand. You can have patches with your custom business logo on them at prices that will let you add them to your staff uniforms, jackets, backpacks and more. You can even give patches to your customers to use as coupons. Get creative!
So let’s get ready. Let’s celebrate the holidays in socially distanced style, then be prepared to kick off 2021 with a dedication to better days and bigger sales.
And from our family to yours, Happy Holidays.