Can I be real with you? The ‘Rona is realllly starting to piss me off. Between the shortages of toilet paper and tampons….. oh, yeah that’s actually a thing, which I discovered on day 28 of my cycle. For the Love of all things holy, who’s hoarding all the tampons?! Can you tell I’m starting to lose my usually patient attitude?
What’s more, the longer things go on, the more weary people are getting about the solvency of their businesses. Boutique owners top the list of people who feel they’re walking the plank with a surly one-eyed pirate- who looks nothing like Johnny Depp mind you– breathing down their necks smelling of Netflix and debt forcing them to their deaths.
If your boutique is closed due to social distancing mandates it can feel like each day is bringing you closer and closer to a point of no return. Before you give up entirely and down entire bottles of wine chased with dollar menu McDoubles I’ve got a plan. How about you set the burgers down…or eat them really fast…chug that wine, and try these 5 money-making activities.
1. Amp Up Your Social Media
If your boutique is brick and mortar you may have relied on foot traffic and offline activities to generate business. Social media may have been one of many strategies but not a primary focus. Now’s the time to switch gears and go HAM on social media. Here are some fun ideas to amp up your social media presence:
Facebook Live Or Instagram TV- Both of these platforms make it easy to go live inside your boutique and connect with your peeps. Reminding your customers you are in it to win it and want to engage with them while they are isolated. You can host a live auction, virtual styling class, or another activity where customers can buy items or engage with you via social media. You’ll be amazed at how many people miss you and enjoy the distraction from their cooped-up lives.
Revamp your Instagram- Instagram is an eye-catching way to express the vibe of your boutique without having to work all that hard. When’s the last time you spruced your gram game up and gave it a facelift? Now’s a great time to redress your Instagram to impress and revive your engagement. Here’s a look at an Instagram account that’s swoon-worthy!
2. Host an On-line Sale
Speaking of social media, it’s a great way to host a sale without having to open your doors. Offering out-of-the-box ways to shop your store from home can generate sales and keep your customers connected. Don’t fall for the lie that people don’t want to spend money. Everyone’s experience with COVID 19 is different and plenty of people want what you have!
Go live and host an auction- Why not host an online auction and clear out your inventory before it’s obsolete? You can create a buzz leading up to your sale and make it a partayyyyy. Encourage participation by reacting to your audience and showing your enthusiasm for the sale.
Flat lay the day away- If you’re camera shy….and if you are, we need to chat.. create a series of flat lays that your customers can purchase one piece at a time or offer a discount for an entire look. Be sure to add accessories or other upsellable items to maximize your profits.
3. Offer VIP and Curbside Services
Just because you can’t be open for everyone, all the time. You should be able to be open for someone, some of the time. Consider hosting socially distanced VIP shopping or curbside services for your customers. Here’s how-
Facetime shopping experience- You can easily use a smartphone to offer facetime shopping for your customers. Help them search your inventory for the perfect items and simply take their payment over the phone.
Curbside delivery- People are looking for reasons to leave their home in responsible ways. Offering curbside delivery is a great way to give customers a reason to leave their homes and grab-n-go from your boutique. If you want to get really fancy, you can offer home delivery like Domino’s Pizza sans the gawdawful pizza delivery guy getup.
4. Negotiate Your Contracts
Everyone is feeling the pressure and the economic pinch from the shutdowns. You are not alone! metaphorically, that is. This means you are in a prime space to negotiate nearly all of your contracts that affect your overhead. From rent to utilities, to other expenses, use this time to connect with your providers and see what can be done to reduce, revamp, or revisit your contracts. Anything saved is like putting money into the bank rather than pulling it out.
5. Self-Asses and Plan Ahead
Now might be the time to pick that glass back up and pour a smidge more wine. Lean in and listen closely. One of the good things that come from crisis is the opportunity to get honest about things. Things like priorities, behaviors, and all the stuff we tend to avoid or ignore when we don’t have to pay attention. Likely, you’ve been up a lot lately, worried about what’s going to happen and where you’re going to land once your feet actually hit the water off that plank you’re walking. I get it. I’ve been there.
This is a great time to get honest about life, business, and other stuff that’s been lumpy under the carpet. This blog is about helping you love your boutique and your life. The two aren’t mutually exclusive….unlike the relationship between my binge-watching Tiger King and wanting to be considered a refined person.
If this season feels like a wake-up call and is bringing you back to the realization things need to change, it’s ok. Maybe they do. Maybe this is a perfect time to assess where things are and where you want them to be. It’s normal to reduce to the lowest common denominator when you are battling and let me be real, you are in a battle. We all are! Just make sure you’re head’s on straight and you don’t make harsh decisions without thinking them through. Be wise, seek wise counsel, and shed what needs to go without losing what serves you and your clients the most.
This is a great time to ask yourself if all of your expenses are necessary. What can you trim? In what ways has money been leaking because you’ve been too busy, too overwhelmed, or too negligent to manage? Cutting costs, expenses, and shoring up loose ends will put money back in your account and give you a longer runway for recovery.