Three Keys to Retailer Growth During a Pandemic: Interview with GetintheLoop’s Michael DeLong

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There’s been a fair bit of media coverage about how the pandemic is shaping retail these days and how the protracted supply chain issues are impacting the holiday shopping season across the country. And, who better to ask than Michael DeLong

Michael DeLong

Michael is a GetintheLoop Local franchisee in Hamilton, Ontario and is one of nearly 100 GetintheLoop Local Owners across the country who work with local businesses every day. He became a GetintheLoop Local owner at the very outset of the pandemic, and today he works hand-in-hand with local businesses providing marketing support and connecting his partners to GetintheLoop’s shop local community. 

When asked what is different about this Christmas season compared to last year, Michael is quick to point out, “last year was mostly about telling people “we’re open.” This year, it’s more about creating a sense of urgency because of reduced inventory caused by supply chain problems.”

Despite the concerns of increased demand, product shortages, staffing shortages, and continued uncertainty caused by the evolving pandemic regulations, many positive, growth-minded business owners believe that we’re in a little better situation than we were last year. Michael notes, “I think with the way things are going, businesses are happy that people are starting to come back into the stores finally.”

1. Be positive and growth-minded

The optimistic business owners are the ones that are adapting and adopting new technologies like GetintheLoop. They are doing things to help better their business, whether online or using other initiatives to help drive revenue. 

On the other hand, Michael adds, “with this much uncertainty though, it’s still very unsettling for a lot of people. There are rumours of another lockdown, and many people are fearful of what that could do to their businesses. It’s kind of 50-50 as to where we are, but I think in the long term, we’re all going to be stronger.” 

Michael notes, “I work with a lot of local businesses that sell unique, Canadian-made goods, and there does seem to be a common theme I’m hearing from a lot of local business owners. Consumers are coming in with their lists, they’re checking to make sure that they’ve got something that might be on their list, but they’re not buying it at that time. Owners are struggling with how to get them to make the purchase right then to avoid losing out when they return.

2. Unique and novel concepts

Image: Rustic Daisy’s

Many would agree that the silver lining of the pandemic has been a raised consciousness about the importance of shopping locally. But Michael explains the pandemic has also spun off several new, innovative businesses that are growing and thriving, “I’ve actually partnered with a unique business in town called, That’s my Jam Sandwiches. They opened in May of 2021, right amidst the pandemic. This local entrepreneur, Nikoo, creates gourmet fruit fusion jam sandwiches, each built with a layer of jam to make it unique while at the same time promoting local artists. They hire artists in the restaurant and do art night events. So guests get to learn from an artist, and that engages people. It’s bringing people back to the heart of the city; it’s creating a culture within the downtown area that allows businesses to find a unique way to sell a product.

According to DeLong, these are among five of Hamilton’s most adaptive and innovative businesses that have turned pandemic lemons into lemonade. 

1 – Rustic Daisy’s

2 – That’s My Jam Sandwiches

3 – Copper Kettle Cafe

4 – Casual Gourmet

5 – Cascata Bistro

It seems many people want to try something different, and by providing something that has a little flair, something a little different that makes it unique and, better yet, customized in some way that novelty can drive business. 

3. Connect with consumers digitally

GetintheLoop is helping businesses like That’s my Jam Sandwiches by connecting them with people in the community who want to support local businesses through the GetintheLoop app and audience network.

GetintheLoop is helping local businesses reach local consumers with the annual Holiday Loop. Michael adds, “we’re featuring several businesses in our Holiday Loop this year. It’s great because it enables those businesses who are a part of GetintheLoop, extra exposure for their holiday offerings. The holiday offers are all in one place at the top of the app. This is great for the consumer; it’s one click, and they can see all of the great holiday offers in the community.” 

While it’s anyone’s guess what this time will look like next year, the resilience of retailers and small businesses across the country has been remarkable. It also seems that those business owners that choose a curious, positive mindset are more likely to adapt and grow. 

If you’re a retailer and would like to learn more about how GetintheLoop can help grow your business connect with us.

GetintheLoop is a franchise, and if you’re interested in bringing GetintheLoop to your community contact us today.

*Retail Insider has an ongoing business partnership with GetintheLoop and will occasionally publish content.



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