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How Local Retailers Are Innovating During COVID-19

April 6, 2020 | Published by Faire

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Faire retailer Becky Holden of Eastward in Ocean City, NJ

We’ve been so inspired by the resilience our retailers have demonstrated over the past few weeks. According to our survey, 44% of retailers have already started investing in new or existing online sales channels, and retailers of all sizes are finding ways to generate new revenue streams. It’s this ability to remain agile and creative that will power the small business community during this critical time. 

We know that we’ll get through this together, especially if we share learnings. We’ve collected some best practices from retailers across the country who are successfully leveraging new sales strategies. 

Surprise and delight with custom packages 

Retailers across the country are winning over consumers by creating curated care packages that tailor to the needs of practicing social distancing. 

Jackson, Wyoming retailer, MADE started selling custom ‘Quarantine Boxes’ for a range of needs like family fun and self-care. Not only are these boxes now accounting for 80% of their orders, but they’ve been able to expand their  geographical reach by encouraging local customers to send boxes to their friends and family nationwide. 

Photo courtesy of MADE.

Los Angeles retailer and clothing designer, Haley Solar added a personal touch to her customer care packages by including hand sewed face masks from the fabric in her store, demoing the process of making the masks on Instagram Live. 

What you can do: Take a look at your inventory and see what products you can combine to tell a story to your customers, or fill a current need in the marketplace. Consider adding a personal touch like a hand-written note, beautiful gift wrapping, or a staple item that is unique to your store. Curated care packages could be a great way to reach your customers for upcoming moments like Easter, Mother’s Day, or graduation.

Invest in your digital footprint

As phone usage surges nationwide, retailers are experimenting with fun and low-cost ways to connect with their customers through social media.

Beaver, Pennsylvania retailer Jeppie ramped up their online store through a free website builder. Owner Jesse Arrington started previewing items on Instagram before adding them to his online shop, and saw immediate results with orders coming in from his Instagram followers. 

Brooklyn, New York retailer Woods Grove uses their POS and e-commerce platform to seamlessly track inventory and purchases both in-store and online. Ensuring that products shared on their Instagram account are tagged appropriately is helping drive customers to the right place to purchase on their website. 

San Francisco-based online retailer Confidants debuted the launch of their new ‘Brighten Up The Day’ care package with an Instagram giveaway. Not only were they able to increase their social reach by having participants enter by following their account, but they saw a significant lift in website traffic and care package orders. 

Photo courtesy of Confidants.

Meanwhile, Ocean City, New Jersey retailer Eastward hosted an ‘Insta-Sale’ by sharing exclusive sale items on the platform with free local delivery. They were able to process payments easily through Zelle or PayPal, and the sale ended up accounting for 80% of their recent orders.

What you can do: Invest in tools to get your online presence up and running, and consider taking your own photography if possible to differentiate and add a personal touch to your online shop. Be consistent with sharing updates to your products and offerings through your social channels. If you have a generous amount of inventory on hand, consider running a giveaway on social to launch a new product or bundle. 

Leverage current consumer shopping trends

Consumer shopping behavior is evolving rapidly, and retailers that are focusing on items that are in high demand as quarantine necessities are seeing positive results. 

East Aurora, New York retailer Beauty Organix has de-prioritized products like makeup and jewelry in place of more essential items like deodorant, soaps, and moisturizer. Owner Michelle Macey even started making her own regulation-grade hand sanitizer, using Instagram to educate customers on the importance of understanding the quality of ingredients used. Woods Grove shared a ‘Stay at Home Sanity List’ of products available that will keep customers happy at home. After promoting various puzzles through Instagram, they sold 30 to one customer alone and are now almost sold out. 

What you can do: Focus on the items in your store that are most essential for the home. Check out our new featured Collections including Home Essentials, Cook at Home, Family Time, Self Care, and Work from Home for ideas on what is currently top of mind for consumers.      

Share with others

We’ll continue to share interesting trends from our inspiring community. If you’d like to share your story with us directly, email [email protected] and join the conversation in our retailer community forum.

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