Keys to Surviving the Retail Apocalypse

Opinions expressed by businessman the collaborators are theirs.

Post-pandemic retailers are competing with a shift to online sales. The transition to the prevalence of online sales was already underway, but the Coronavirus accelerated the trend. As the global lockdown forced people to order everything, even their groceries, online, what they first saw as an inconvenience soon became a way of life. The lockdown is over, but large-scale online shopping is here to stay.

I advise retailers to keep up with online marketing trends to avoid being left behind. Many retailers are implementing augmented reality (AR). For example, clothing retailers have apps and websites that allow you to see yourself in their clothes. Furniture retailers allow you to view their products in your home simply by opening your phone’s camera. By uploading a photo and measuring your face, eyewear retailers let you see how their glasses will look.

Retail businesses adjusting to the changing market may be surprised to see a bright side to the transition. After all, they will gain new consumers online and find they are still needed by their local customers.

Related: A guide to using augmented reality for e-commerce and retail

Retailers pivot to survive supply chain bottlenecks

Supply chain issues may be diminishing in 2022, but they won’t go away. I’m noticing more and more smart retailers buying product ahead of time and storing it until needed. Businesses are learning that they must prepare ahead of time to keep operations and sales running smoothly.

In my opinion, two main issues are holding up the supply chain: shipping and distribution. As retailers, we need to be better at anticipating our inventory needs and communicating that information to suppliers. If all levels of the supply chain are on the same page regarding future needs, then everyone will know how to prepare and adjust.

I believe the cure for distribution bottlenecks lies in automation and streamlining. Consider Amazon’s innovative means of sorting, organizing and shipping packages. We need to replicate Amazon’s example and focus on implementing technology that reduces time in the supply chain process.

Related: Consumer trends demand new supply chain ideas

Physical businesses in the post-pandemic market

Despite today’s preference for online shopping, local stores still have a place in today’s market. Humans are social creatures. They continue to need experiences outside their home. Expedited shipping may be fast, but it’s never as fast as a trip to the store. Also, customers will always want physical interaction with certain products before committing to a purchase.

In reality, shoppers spend more in person than on apps or websites. They make impulse purchases in stores, because they find products they weren’t even looking for. The key is to get customers into your store.

More than ever, today’s retailers must focus on improving the shopping experience they offer. Attracting customers from home is possible, but only through a unique atmosphere, quality products and stellar customer service.

To demonstrate my point, I’ll use the experience I create for clients at my company, Ricoma, as an example. People may be able to order slightly more affordable products directly from China, but we outsell these competitors. We are able to surpass them because of the value we offer. With every purchase, we offer customers lifetime technical support and professional training. To stay competitive, focus on the value and experience you provide.

Related: The Return to Brick and Mortar in 2022

The keys to attracting post-pandemic customers

Driving transactions in the post-pandemic marketplace isn’t as easy as it used to be. I believe the only way to survive today’s trends is to provide reliable products, impeccable customer service, excellent customer experience and a one stop shop.

Ricoma strives to provide a memorable experience to each and every customer. When customers purchase an embroidery machine or other equipment, I connect them with a professional trainer. Not only are customers taught how to use the products, there are regular podcasts, videos and blogs full of personalized clothing advice. My business model is based on empowering clients with the entrepreneurial training they need to start their custom clothing business.

Also, I recently introduced Ricoma’s sister company called Garmeo. This new website takes requests for custom clothing and directs jobs directly to new Ricoma entrepreneurs. We offer every customer a quality team, but we don’t stop there. We provide them with the training, support and assistance they will need as new business owners.

Ricoma is expanding to become a one-stop shop for anyone in the custom clothing market. In my opinion, this move keeps current customers engaged and attracts new consumers. In addition to embroidery products, Ricoma has garment printers, heat presses and vinyl cutters. At Ricoma, I want to empower anyone starting a side hustle in clothing decorating with all the gear, training, and resources they need. My mission is to provide the tools that allow them to customize anything, beyond clothes.

As entrepreneurs rebuild amid the rubble of the Retail Apocalypse, thought leaders are leading the way. For more tips, readers can check out Apparel Academy, a podcast and YouTube channel focused on the business knowledge needed to launch a side hustle in today’s changing market.

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