The time to hesitate is through

Right across the globe, we see a second wave of restrictions starting to strangle our ways of working, just when we were hitting our stride again. Taking the right or wrong out of it and trying to separate ourselves from it is key to survival. Customers will take to online, be absolutely certain of that - we will have customers. From today, here are some things that all those selling a product/service need to do - there are no questions about it. 

General Comment.

1. Christmas starts today - Every action you take is geared around peak sales. 

2. Consumer spending will be spread across a number of months and not concentrated into a small window of time. Savings are at an all time high and subsidies are coming - spending will be maintained, as it was in March. 

3. Redesign team structures - Getting all subsidies and grants can be time-consuming and involve too many people. Design a team structure that means the wheels keep turning and every person's time is maximised. 

Marketing and Merchandising

4. Treat your website/selling platform like the shop floor. Face it off - bring out your top sellers now - customers will want their best. Create a sale section and push it. Realise that everyday the clock goes back to zero and you repeating the same task won't be enough. 

5. It is not good enough to merely say #buylocal #supportirish - we need to proactively communicate the reason why I should buy. Yes, there will be goodwill to local. But make it worth my while and make sure I come back. You all have social media accounts, talk to people, ask them what they want from you. 

6. Customer service is king right now - provide good service and keep customers for longer. A much cheaper way to grow a business. We do this well in-store, we need to find a way to do this online too - Video/photos/information all part of the mix. 

7. Use email - gather email addresses on-site and communicate frequently with customers. It is a great way to land the right message in someone's inbox. Use email to say thank you - that is a part of the experience. 

8. Get Reviews - we want word of mouth messaging to be part of the overall mix. Surveys work too.

Website 

9. Audit it - check all customer touch points work. Make it consistent with your social media marketing. 

10. Sweat your stock - don't rely on your best sellers always. That's what the instore browsing does - think as you always do as a retailer. This is natural behaviour. 

11. Seek help - if you are unsure, there are literally thousands of people offering help and support now. Youtube, google all search engines are your friend when it comes to problem-solving. If you are new to selling online, chances are someone else has had this problem before - you are not unique. 

12. See what competitors are doing - if it is working, Copy, copy copy.

13. Clearly communicate and manage customer expectations and as situations change, let people know. 

14. Build a weekly plan and stick to it - practice the discipline and treat the website as a new shop floor. 

Operations

15. Mystery shop yourself - see where gaps might be and close them. 

16. Accurately manage stock and create simple policies and procedures for those things that might go wrong - having a way to do something means a resolution can be quick. 

I will be adding to this, but this is a simple check list and trading without panic is going to be key. Focus on the consumer, listen to sentiment and take it a day at a time. 

Tomorrow I will publish my Black Friday plan and why it is important to create mini alliances with other local businesses. The power of the collective will be an important aspect in trading through this.