As many as 25,000 retail businesses may shut their doors in 2020. As of this writing, 8,000 brick-and-mortar locations are gone for good.
Online shopping, combined with the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has taken its toll on already-struggling retailers.
But all is not dark and gloomy. Smart retailers are finding creative ways to stay afloat and even prosper during tough times.
First, we’ll summarize some of the steps that forward-thinking retailers are taking to grow sales and deliver better customer service. Then, we’ll look specifically to one major area of cost savings -- energy management.
Look to Who's Thriving
Some retailers are actually expanding during the pandemic. Home goods, off-price products, and even beauty products are doing well.
You may not be able to overhaul your entire brand and product selection to meet consumer needs but follow those businesses that are succeeding and adopt some of their best practices.
Remain engaged with industry experts and consume media that will help you get -- and stay -- smarter about consumer trends.
Service quality and product availability/convenience will continue to be important to tomorrow’s consumer. Industry experts expect brick-and-mortar shopping to still happen this holiday season. Consumers will be looking for opportunities to buy online and pick-up curbside, so make sure your store(s) are ready.
In fact, the omnichannel (digital plus in-store) experience will have an impact on all phases of retail spending, from marketing through returns.
Successful retailers will pay even more attention than ever to their local marketing, as shoppers are looking for nearby solutions. Many searches for products and stores begin on mobile devices, so be sure your listings, reviews, store hours, and health policies are up-to-date.
Save Money and Bolster Health and Sustainability
Retailers are looking at all aspects of their operations. Staffing and scheduling are, of course, a huge cost element in retail. Be sure you are not scrimping on talent or burning out your team when you’re looking to tighten your spending belt.
One huge area for cost reduction that often goes unclaimed by retail businesses in energy saving. Retail businesses account for $20 billion in energy spending annually and are the second-highest waste producers in the U.S.
Heating, cooling, signage, parking lot security, POS (point-of-sale) displays, merchandising systems, technology, and lighting all play a significant role in draining energy.
Making the right decisions regarding these aspects of store operations has four huge benefits:
- Cost-savings through a reduction in energy consumption
- Health and safety of customers and employees
- The potential to increase sales through better signage, product displays, and in-store comfort. Research proves that stores with better lighting sell more product.
- More sustainable practices, which contribute to both individual and world health
Whether you have a single-store operation or a large chain business, you should look at every aspect of your current energy usage, audit your current expenses, and find opportunities to spend less and sell more.
Lighting is one critical aspect of energy usage that’s especially relevant for retailers. Brick-and-mortar businesses built prior to the 1980s may still be using legacy lighting systems that are inefficient and costly and require frequent and expensive maintenance.
Because retail is a highly-visual industry, warm and welcoming lighting can attract ore visitors to your store. The right display lighting draws the eye to products and services you want to showcase. Your staff’s health and safety can also be positively affected by the right lighting systems -- from parking areas to break rooms to the customer floor itself. Dimly-lit sales floors and flickering lights will ultimately hurt the well being of your valued team members.
How to Choose the Best Energy-Saving Partner
Look for a company that has specific and extensive experience with retail store operations and will invest time and resources in auditing your current systems and making recommendations that work well for your business.
You don’t want to sacrifice aesthetics and marketing effectiveness for cost savings when you change over to LED lighting and the right partner will recommend alternatives that look great AND save you thousands of dollars over time.
This holiday season and 2021 will continue to pose unique challenges to retailers, but the right combination of marketing/sales/service effectiveness and energy-saving moves can help you survive and prosper.
Ask how we can help your retail business save money and grow.