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Embrace the Bright Future That Is Omni-Experiential Pet Retail

To succeed in the post-COVID world of retail, you’ll need to take everything you learned during the pandemic, and build on it.

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NO ONE NEEDS to tell you how crazy these last 18 months have been — you’ve been living and working it every day. From the first terrifying weeks of the pandemic to the long slog of last winter, you’ve been through it all. And so have your customers.

Pre-pandemic, you focused on driving in-store traffic and creating an amazing in-store experience. During the height of the pandemic, you were forced to find new, innovative ways to sell without people coming in to your store.

You’ve had to learn a mind-boggling number of new skills to keep customers shopping with you. From offering curbside pickup to doing live social video to ramping up e-commerce at warp speed, you have had to pivot, pivot and pivot some more.

These pandemic pivots have changed your customers’ expectations forever. The experience that your customers crave has shifted, and it’s never going back. To succeed in the post-COVID world of retail, you’ll need to take everything you learned during the pandemic, and build on it.

All of the new and different ways customers have engaged with your business make up what I call the Omni-Experiential Future of Independent Retail.

They are experiencing your business when they shop with you online. They are experiencing your business when they shop during live social video. They are experiencing your business when they shop by phone and pick up curbside. They are experiencing your business when they shop online and receive a box from you in the mail or via local delivery.

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Your in-store experience is now only one of many ways for your customer to experience your business.

Here’s the bad news: If you’re waiting for things to go back to the way they were pre-pandemic and you’re resistant to change, you’re going to struggle mightily. In fact, you probably won’t survive.

But here’s the good news: Your customers liked all of the new options they got during the pandemic … and they still want them. If you are ready to embrace the Omni-Experiential Future with open arms, things have never looked brighter. If you give your customers the experience they crave, they will respond with loyalty, referrals and money.

There is a huge amount of support, goodwill and (most importantly) money out there right now for independents. If you’re willing to continuously expand the ways your customer can experience your business combined with the authentic care and real love that can only come from an independent store, you have a winning combination that no impersonal, soulless big box can touch.

We are at a unique moment in history where you can choose to step up, be brave, embrace the uncertainty and thrive. Don’t let fear or timidity hold you back. You have what it takes! You can do this!

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Bob Negen is an accomplished speaker, author and retail expert. His sole focus is on small, independent brick-and-mortar businesses. For over 21 years he has helped tens of thousands of stores, including hundreds of pet businesses, through WhizBang! Training. Learn more at whizbangtraining.com.

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