As much of the country begins to enter yet another lockdown following the wider spread and the mutations of the novel coronavirus that has so marred our year, businesses are once again bracing for the worst. This is why we are continuing our thread on those businesses who have taken smart steps to survive, in an effort to help those who are worried about what the coming weeks and months is going to bring.
We caught up recently with John Eilermann St Louis resident and business owner to see what steps his store took during the last 10 months.
John recognized very quickly the scale of the situation that they were in as lockdown approached and that is why he and his team decided to simply be truthful with customers on social media, so that they too understood the plight that the business was in. The reason for doing this was not just about survival and marketing, it was also about simply sharing with the community what the actual situation was, and this in turn brought about a great deal of support from the community.
Smelling What Is Selling
John told us that whilst his store is a relatively simple convenience store, they recognized very quickly just how important it would be that the store sold whatever it could in order to bring in money. For example they bought in alcohol gel and masks very quickly from a local business, this supported that business and give John’s business a high selling item to move on. John also brought in items like slippers and pajamas because it was very clear that these types of products would also sell easily and keep the money coming in.
John was determined not to get rid of any staff because of financial challenges and he knew that in order to do this he would have to keep cash coming in. Despite losing money on the investment he was able to select a number of products in store which were slow moving, and to shift them on for a discount. This freed up liquidity in the business which was then used to support the staff who had worked there for so many years.
John’s son was able to help him to take the store online and within days he was able to upload an online product list which customers could both used to find what they wanted and to order. This was the best way in which such a small convenience store would be able to compete with the larger grocery stores and their online dealings.
Ultimately John commented on the need to move quickly when things are changes, the importance of recognizing what sells and looking to buy, and of course the need to be creative and honest during what is a very tough time for everyone. This is about seeking the support of the local community and offering your support to them.