This morning MnRA hosted an open conversation with retailers and local chambers of commerce across the state surrounding attracting and serving customers around the holiday season during the pandemic. Below is a recap of some of the ideas discussed.
Retailers are expanding capacity, but only when they can continue to operate with social distancing and other safety measures. With capacity changes many are re-examining store flow and adding additional protections such as plexi-glass shielding. Customers and employees need to be safe and feel comfortable in the store.
Retailers are taking an extra moment to remind their employees about safe store practices as well as reminding customers that shopping can be a safe activity.
Now is a good time to review signage, especially around masking, to make sure expectations are clear to customers, and that retailers are following the law and guidelines.
One of the best ways to promote safe store environments is to share how retail community leaders are setting a leading example.
In order to spread out customers, some retailers are expanding hours around the holidays.
Retailers are spreading out holiday deals over a longer period of time. As an example, Black Friday deals are available the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Some retailers are sticking with an appointment-only model as that has been well received by customers.
Communities are coming together with their chamber of commerce and CVB to create safe holiday attractions that invite shoppers over longer periods of time, and with a focus on keeping shopping dollars in the community. Some of the ideas include community coupon books and doubling down on “chamber bucks”.
Many communitiesthrough their chamber of commerce are trying newly created safe shopping events this holiday season with creative taglines like “Keep The Cheer Here”, “Hometown Holiday Stroll”, “Sleigh Your Neighbors”. Other engagement ideas include gift guides listing curbside, online and in-store shopping options, business holiday lighting contests, and shop local raffles.
Retailers are engaging customers via social media, including conducting give-aways in order to build their customer engagement lists.
Retailers are partnering with non-profits on promotions that are mutually beneficial.
Retailers are running in to staffing challenges, but many are responding through planning and anticipation of employees being unavailable for work.
Today’s Minnesota consumer is well-researched, cost-conscious and appreciative of shopping experiences and options. Join the Minnesota Retailers Association (MnRA) as we recognize ten leading retailers and industry partners at the announcement of the 2020 Minnesota’s Retail Champions.
Winners accepted their awards virtually during Retail Rally on Wednesday, October 7. Retail Rally is changing the way retailers and their key business partners engage with today’s consumer. The event featured seven 20-minute practical, game-changing, cutting edge retail innovations strategies and ideas.
“We are proud to recognize ten innovative retailers, communities and partners that are leading the way in connecting with consumers and today’s trends following a vigorous process to identify Minnesota’s Retail Champions,” says Bruce Nustad, Minnesota Retailers Association president. “The retail industry has a deep impact on Minnesota communities, and these award recipients are truly representative of what’s great about retail across the state, how the industry is changing, and what it takes to attract customers today.”
MnRA started the award process by putting out a statewide call for nominations early in the year. A panel of peer judges reviewed nearly eight dozen nominations and selected the top nominee in each category. Tickets to the event are $25 online at www.retailrally.com.