Weathering the storm as we face unchartered waters hasn’t come easy to many like us who run their own business. As we continue to face the challenges of sustaining customer engagement and adapt to the dramatic shift in shopping patterns – we’ve put our thinking caps on and become innovators of fresh ideas to keep customers on board.
It’s definitely been bittersweet during 2020 as we entered our 8th year of trade at DJV Boutique during the first lockdown. We had all kinds of celebrations planned ahead of time, which were cancelled of course. However, we feel very privileged making it to our 8th Anniversary – as we’ve got another year under our belts but this year it seems more poignant somehow as we face such uncertainty overall and the challenges around the decline in high-street spending.
On a positive note during lockdown and just before we re-opened in June, we were fortunate enough to gain extensive media coverage and exposure. This included being featured in the local and national press, appearing on BBC and ITV News (covering off how we planned to re-open safely), alongside representing local independents’ in our area, by taking part in phone interviews on BBC Radio Suffolk and BBC Radio Five. Such great exposure kept DJV well highlighted and was clearly well-timed! DJV Boutique was also selected as one of Small Business Saturdays #SmallBiz100 this year which has also been highly advantageous. Further down the line, we had articles published in The Guardian and YOURS Magazine.
We’ve always focussed on a healthy online strategy and continue to embrace the digital age as part of our marketing plans. We’ve since further enhanced our online offer to meet customer demand and cater for our online shoppers by introducing free local delivery, click and collect, a special orders facility and additional services for added convenience. Fortunately, we still have a high retention of customers who prefer to visit us in person. For those, we’ve made life as easy as possible and introduced one-to-one personal shopping appointments for extra appeal and additional safety reassurance. Our regulars and visitors alike have welcomed this as they basically have the shop to themselves for around half an hour and avoid concerns of facing other people except one member of staff. Naturally, we set up a PPE station and limit customer contact to any items in-store as a further precaution. Walk-ins are welcome based on one person at a time or two maximum from the same household, which is working out very well. From feedback customers and national survey’s people feel far safer and are attracted to smaller shops with fewer people.
The big lessons learned so far are that we have to keep thinking ahead and innovating. For example, we’ve held many successful fashion events over the years and again, further adapting to change – we recently launched a ‘virtual’ fashion showcase – the positive feedback was been immense! We used professional models and videographer to achieve the best results remotely filmed in the boutique to promote our latest collection. As an outcome, we’ve successfully benefited from improved traffic to our online shop and social media platforms. This in turn has helped to increase our rankings, enabling more leads and sales. This ‘pilot’ has proved to be a tangible execution – just one example of how making change has benefited our business and is the way forward.
For now, we are hopeful that we can continue to safeguard our small business – utilising our new approach in retailing! Without a doubt we are privileged to have received crucial assistance received from the Government – without such help, it may have been a different story. Looking ahead, we look forward to operating to full capacity and welcoming back our colleagues as we strive to thrive for the foreseeable future.
If you’re a supporter of small independents why not browse our website to find out more about us: djvboutique.co.uk