How has COVID-19 and the impact it tore throughout the retail industry, changed the way you think about your business/customer?
Our customers definitely are buying less, and buying what’s available right now which in turn has meant we operate on a smaller scale and have focused on better quality products instead. I keep old Reed Gift Fairs event guides as a resource so have been able to look back through and refer to my past notes and call up suppliers throughout the year to order what I’ve needed as my business model changed. Most suppliers sent through emails consistently, so I used those to stay updated and learn about what’s in stock and impacted delivery times which helped me realign my ordering strategy.
I also used this time in 2020 to introduce ‘phone and collect’ – I converted my shop windows to look like a webpage so consumers could see the items, call through and order and collect through the door. I also re-did the website to make the most of the spare time forced upon us Melbournians in 2020 so I’ve been able to upgrade and invest time into creating an improved online space. In 2021, I’ll continue with this process and working with someone to evolve into an even more sophisticated website with an ecommerce capability which can support my bricks and mortar stores.