Brick-and-mortar retailers were already experiencing decreased traffic and sales due to online alternatives. Then, 2020 hit. Pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions further reduced traffic for these already struggling businesses. As a result, roughly 164,000 businesses have closed their doors.
Service-based industries that depend on foot traffic like restaurants, retail and hotels were especially hard hit. The impact of COVID-19 on these businesses is expected to continue well into 2021. Smart companies are looking for ways to keep customers and employees safe while discovering hidden savings to help keep the doors open.
Want to learn more? Download our free eBook: Brick, Mortar, & Energy: How Retailers, Restaurants, and Hotels can Beat the Pandemic
Less Customers and Less Resources Means More Challenges
You aren’t alone in your challenges. In fact, 94% of small businesses report revenue losses due to the pandemic. Those businesses that have managed to stay afloat have been forced to pivot. Nearly half of businesses have changed their business hours or reduced their staff.
Creative Solutions Fuel a Bounceback
Smart businesses found ways to adapt their current model to better serve their customers remotely.
- Home furnishing companies like Wayfair performed well by creatively positioning existing home furnishings and comfort products to customers stuck at home.
- Warehouse retailer BJ’s increase sales by anticipating customers’ buying behavior and being stocked.
- Chipotle launched a new drive-through concept that boosted sales while supporting social distancing.
- Small businesses quickly pivoted their business models to provide takeout service and manufacture PPE materials.
A Reminder of Core Business Principles
At their heart, the changes these businesses made to weather – and even thrive during – the pandemic are the same principles of success that have always existed:
- Anticipate your customers' needs and adapt your business model.
- Even in tough times, investments in the right areas will pay off.
- Crossing industry lines creates new opportunities to utilize your infrastructure for new purposes.
How to Keep the Lights On … Literally
Businesses everywhere are taking a hard look at their bottom line. Cuts have to be made in order to survive. This is a great time to re-examine your monthly and annual expenses and create a cost-reduction plan for 2021 and beyond.
It’s important to keep your customers front and center in your decision-making process. Ask yourself how each dollar spent in one area and cut in another will impact their experience.
One area businesses commonly overlook is their operating expenses. Rent, utilities and other expenses are often considered as one lump sum. As essential expenses, it’s often assumed they’re fixed and cuts aren’t an option. This simply isn’t true!
Identify easy ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce your business's energy costs with this free energy audit.
Your Operating Expenses are a Source of Major Savings, if you Know Where to Look
Retailers spend $20 billion on energy each year, according to EnergyStar. Fortunately, a thorough energy audit can typically uncover hundreds if not thousands of dollars of savings every month. When your traditional income has been impacted by something out of your control, like the pandemic, it’s important to control these energy costs and reduce your expenses.
Reducing energy expenses is good for everyone – your customers, employees, business owners, managers, and investors. A commitment to sustainability and responsibility is also good for your corporate image.
Where to Start
Lighting is the “low hanging fruit” of energy saving. Inefficient fluorescent and incandescent bulbs waste energy, require frequent maintenance and don’t provide high quality illumination.
These systems are affordable, even when your budget is tight. Lighting-as-a-Service (LaaS) solutions provide a way to normalize your lighting expense every single month so you know exactly what to expect. Installation and ongoing maintenance is all part of this single monthly fee.
When the economy is as volatile as it is these days, smart businesses are getting back to the basics to quite literally keep the lights on.
Download our free eBook today to look at more ways you can cut costs and protect your business.