Rent, rates, staff and stock are expensive. What are the alternatives?
We’ve all heard it said that staying as we are is going backwards: expand or die. But with Covid and Brexit and declining High Streets and the costs of employing people rising steadily, many of us don’t have the stomach for another shop.
- Farm Shops - If you expand your farm shop, create some extra square feet out of an old barn, that is capex heavy. The building was probably never intended as a shop – perhaps its an old calving shed. And will the flow of your customers, the way it integrates into your existing store, be right?
- Delicatessens – getting a second shop is the hardest of all steps in expanding. The premises are very expensive, your biggest asset – you – needs to be split in half, and your can't yet get the economies of scale in buying, HR etc that makes your first store more efficient.
Yet you want – you need – to keep your revenue increasing.
The only low cost and low risk space available to you is online.
Your biggest opportunity is to sell more to your existing customers and community. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting customers loyal to you, you have those icon products they can only get from you, and you have that warm community spirit that makes coming into your store a pleasure. They look forward to it.
You need to sweat that asset.
For businesses with strong local followings, an online shop is not like John Lewis or Amazon. It is a way to sell the products you sell everyday, but more frequently and more conveniently to your community.
The three big buzzwords in retail are Attract, Convent and Retain. You did a lot of Attracting customers, that is what having a loyal customer base means. You need to invest in more Converting and more Retaining. Your online space must do that.
Invest in a website that increases Conversion
More converting means getting customers to buy, not just be fond of you. If they like your beef? Sell them puddings. If they like your coffee? Sell them sausage rolls or brownies. If they like your home-made lasagne? Sell them wine. Communicate this online –
- Online ordering
- Online promotions
- Online meal deals
Invest in a website that increases Retention
Retention means customers come back, and come back more frequently. Give them new reasons to buy more often.
- Click and Collect
- Local delivery
- Early bird discounts
Why is online cheaper?
New premises costs thousands, every month. Being online costs hundreds at the most, and can be very cheap or even free with sponsored sites like the Hider Delishop. You will need to spend time on it, but less than it takes for a new shop.
Plus developing your business online is flexible in a way a new shop isn’t. A new shop is one giant expensive step. Your online presence can be grown slowly, one piece at a time. Start with Click and Collect, then expand your range with your take away dinners, or cheese boxes, then offer your customers 20 hampers delivered by a partner business.
Most of all, being online is about you spending your time finding new ways to talk to, and encourage, your customers. Your time is not cheap. But it is cheaper than the long list of bills that goes with a new shop.