High streets nationwide tackle and overcome hurdles posed by soaring energy prices, staff shortages, and reduced customer spending.
Research conducted by Santander (source: https://www.santander.co.uk/about-santander/media-centre/press-releases/rising-cost-of-living-makes-for-toughest-winter-in) revealed that 65% of SMEs are facing increased challenges in running their businesses due to the rising cost of living. A staggering 87% described the last winter as the toughest in memory. The study also shed light on various strategies businesses are employing to navigate these difficulties.
With costs on the rise for nearly every business, negotiating with suppliers becomes crucial. While it may seem daunting, suppliers are often willing to explore discounts or changes in payment terms to retain valuable customers. Exploring flexibility in minimum order sizes and added value can also be part of these negotiations.
Trial different opening hours!
Adapting to changes in customer behaviour, you can experiment with different opening hours. This allows for potential cost savings without risking customer loss. However, the impact on employee hours should be carefully considered before making such adjustments.
Pricing strategies play a vital role. Whether considering price increases or reductions, businesses must weigh the impact on customers. Communicating changes effectively, possibly through loyalty schemes, can help mitigate the effects. Additionally, reviewing product offerings for potential price adjustments or introducing discounts and incentives can enhance competitiveness.
Diversification is a key strategy, with businesses exploring new product lines to attract a broader customer base. This approach, witnessed during the pandemic with restaurants offering ‘dine at home’ menus, could include personalised shopping experiences or bespoke products and services that command higher prices.
Embracing a more active online presence is crucial. From bolstering social media engagement to setting up online sales platforms, businesses can leverage technology to reach a wider audience. Developing a dedicated business app can streamline communication of offers and promotions to customers.
Cost management is essential. Businesses should thoroughly review overheads, identifying potential cost-cutting measures. This may involve uncovering forgotten subscriptions or finding more cost-effective deals with suppliers. Collaborating with other businesses for bulk buying can also provide cost-saving opportunities.
Being the face of the business is emphasised as a means of building a personal connection with customers. Sharing the business story and engaging with customers both in-store and on social media can foster familiarity. Establishing a personal connection encourages customer loyalty, leading to testimonials and referrals!
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