Reply To: Hi . We run a small footwear retail business and have done so for 37 years . We use our database of customers and facebook as a major part of our marketing program . My question is when we are allowed to reenter the market place do you suggest that we go back with a short term  aggressive discount marketing program or continue on with our normal marketing program which is more informative marketing than hard sell ? The informative marketing program has worked well in normal trading times but the present could be called anything but normal .RegardsGrant Collins

Hi Grant.

Some great suggestions. I agree with being honest with your customers as a great place to start. It feels like there is a movement towards supporting/shopping local. People wanting to support their local retailer/neighbours through these tough times. Being vulnerable (without begging for sales) shows the human element of your business. And your marketing strategy of adding value to your customers is a good one.

Outside of that, there is clearly a movement towards digital/online. If you haven’t done that already it might be a good place to spend some time until you can physically open your doors. An effective turnkey e-commerce site can be built relatively easily and affordably using platforms like Shopify. I’ve heard of stores & brands eCommerce sites experiencing growth in sales over this time.

The determining factor for discounting will be whether you’re in dire need to turn inventory for cashflow. Or have dating inventory you need to clear before new season inventory arrives. Discounting I’d use as the last resort (unless you’re in dire need of cash) as it obviously reduces your margin and profitability.

Go well!