Smart, sophisticated strategies for independent retailers in 2021

independent retailers

The retail industry is fast-paced and dynamic, and in 2020 many Aussie retailers needed every ounce of that dynamism and adaptability to pivot, survive and succeed. As a new year begins, it brings with it a renewed sense of optimism.

For local, independent retailers now is a good time to reflect on the lessons learned in 2020 and identify a strategy to help them stand tall in 2021. If you’re an independent retailer creating your strategy for the year ahead, here are some considerations to help your business kickstart the new year.

Review your 2020 operations

Following a challenging year, take some time to review how your business performed and identify any successes to build on, or pivots or improvements that are necessary to help continue to recover and grow. First, review your business’s financial performance, and use that insight to determine where you are, where you want to be and how you need to get there. With a solid understanding of your finances, ask yourself questions such as, “What went well?”, “What did I learn about my business and customers?”, “What changes did I make last year that I want to continue?”, and “What would I change for future?”. Once you’ve looked at your 2020 performance and determined what went well and any areas for improvement, it’s time to start your 2021 planning.

Flexibility to remain key

One of the biggest takeaways from 2020 is the importance of flexibility. Instead of rigid, detailed planning, you may want to consider creating a business plan that maps out key moments, goals and milestones, but retains an element of flexibility. Key pillars could include goals like a new product launch, but remains flexible in terms of timing, delivery and logistics. After all, you wouldn’t want to over commit to releasing that new product on a specific date according to your strategy, but end up rushing or cutting corners to meet the deadline.

Review your core customer base

If your business experienced change – big or small – in 2020, you’re not alone. Many consumers have also been impacted by the pandemic, changing spending habits and even the businesses they interact with, and how. Therefore, it’s important to take time to review your core customer base and how you can best serve them this year. Start by looking at your return customers, then determine their needs and what your business can do to meet and exceed their expectations.

Develop your digital presence

With lockdowns and ongoing concerns about health and safety, eCommerce boomed last year and should be a key focus for your business this year, too. GoDaddy research reveals that one in four of the (27 per cent) Aussie small-business owners surveyed are budgeting more money for building an online presence, highlighting how important it is to appeal to consumers who rely on the internet to shop and research. Having a website and using effective and efficient digital marketing should be central to getting the word out about your business, particularly via channels such as email marketing and social media. Collectively and individually, these channels are cost- and time-effective ways to reach both new and existing customers. If you’re not yet utilising them, consider the benefits of doing so in 2021.

While many plans were adapted or abandoned entirely in 2020, it’s important to take time to re-set following the festive rush and set yourself up for success in the new year. With a flexible plan, deep knowledge of your customer base and an effective digital presence strategy behind you, your retail business can be better positioned to recover and further grow in 2021.

Suzanne Mitchell, Senior Marketing Director, GoDadd