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5 Solutions Helping Canadian Retailers Operate As Shutdowns Continue

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By Devin Partida

Though vaccines are steadily reaching more people every day, the pandemic continues. While cases were trending downward for a bit, Canadian officials have recently reinstated shutdowns and closures. This prolonged experience can be detrimental to businesses as they lose sales and potential customers. With the right tools, though, retailers can succeed during this time.

At the beginning of April, some Canadian regions are hoping to slow a third wave of COVID-19 with retail shutdowns. However, some of these new regulations don’t include paid sick leave for workers. That makes it harder to maintain business and physical safety as people are left with limited resources while trying to make a profit.

It’s unclear how long the pandemic will last or how many shutdowns the country will see in the future. Fortunately, Canadian retailers can use the following methods to continue operations. That way, they can make a profit despite lockdowns and closures.

1. Expand Purchase Methods

Canadian retailers have already had to adapt to new ways to sell their products and services. Delivery and curbside pickup are becoming the norm, especially as this third round of shutdowns comes into play.

When the pandemic began, 17% of Canadians started using curbside pickup. Any retailer that hasn’t expanded its purchase methods should start now. It offers contact-free ways for customers to get their items.

Once they pay ahead, they can pick up their orders in a hassle-free manner. This appealing process simplifies shopping as consumers don’t have to wait in lines or come near anyone.

2. Use Shipping Wisely

Shipping is invaluable for e-commerce, but retailers must know how to use it correctly. Inefficient practices can lead to losses owners can’t afford during the pandemic.

Specifically, retailers should focus on how they ship. If they mail to different parts of the country or elsewhere in the world, it may be cheaper to use freight forwarding instead of air travel. On the ground, it’s wise to get insurance for shipments so that, if a package goes missing, the retailer can get reimbursed.

In addition, it helps to have tracking numbers. That way, the retailer and customer can keep an eye on the package at all times to make sure it gets delivered.

3. Offer New Deals

A helpful way to engage new and existing customers is to offer creative deals. A discount or sale can draw people in, but consistent promotions and offers may be a more long-term solution.

Retailers can offer single or multi-use coupons for transactions, discounts, bundling, savings, and shipping. Other brands turn to a loyalty points program to keep customers coming back to buy and save. Retailers can use the method that most suits their business model to provide a more engaging approach to shopping.

From there, they can personalize deals. If a loyal customer keeps returning, the retailer can reward them with extra savings.

4. Diversify Partnerships

The pandemic is a trying time for many retailers, which means no business owner is alone with their struggles. At times, the best solution may be to partner with other companies — even ones that have historically been competitors.

A partnership can help with marketing and promotion, allowing retailers to share costs. Pooling resources can be a mutually beneficial experience as businesses share client lists or services for the public.

For instance, if two home furnishing small businesses are struggling, they may combine marketing tactics to reach more people for both stores. In some cases, a merger may even be the best idea for success.

5. Sell the Store

Any company that’s facing complete closure because of shutdowns should consider selling. Due to lower in-person shopping and with Canadian e-commerce set to surpass $33 billion in sales by 2024, offloading the store can ultimately make a profit as retailers switch to a completely online dynamic.

Retailers who don’t have a binding contract or are at the end of their lease might find selling the store immediately and focusing on e-commerce the best option. However, if a business owner does have a binding contract, they can also repurpose their store as a distribution center or sublease it.

That way, they won’t have to pay for the costs of having a store. Instead, they can focus on marketing and selling products online.

Devin Partida is a writer and blogger, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com

Success During the Pandemic

These five solutions can help Canadian retailers think outside the box during this new phase of shutdowns. From expanding curbside pickup and delivery to looking for new partnerships, retailers can still thrive in creative ways. Integrating these steps can help them succeed both during and after the pandemic.

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