Connecting Business Episode 10: How Digital Transformation has Helped Independent Retailers Find Success
They’re not typically associated with retail success through digital transformation. So how did Kelsey Moreira of Doughp: Legit Cookie Dough and Chandra Greer of Greer Chicago find themselves on top of the retail game - without a storefront - in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic?
By already having strong and successful e-commerce businesses.
Host Christina Munoz leads the discussion as Greer and Moreira share the keys to building a strong independent retail e-commerce business - focusing on direct communications with customers, listening to their feedback, and evolving your brand to meet their needs.
Munoz: So the million dollar question, we all talk about branding, we throw the word around. What makes a good brand and what is some advice out there to those that are listening if they're creating their own brand?
Greer: So I think a brand is that combination of your product, your service, the way you present it, that's totally unique to you, that's built around an idea that comes from you. And because of that, anything can be a brand. No matter how small a business is, even if it's just an individual, you can brand it because you are unique in those areas. And so it's going to be unique to you. Like for myself, I thought about what are four business or service or product elements that are important to me? And those were being kind, promoting beauty, promoting appreciation and promoting respect. So those are the four fundamentals of our brand and everything we do is consistent with that. And if it's not, we don't do it. And what we are actually selling to people, it's not really cards and stationery. It's a way of thought and a way of life centered around those principles. I'm gonna share beauty. I'm gonna share kindness. I'm gonna show appreciation. I'm gonna show respect to myself or someone else. And as long as we keep those fundamentals in our mind and we think about who buys our product and why they buy it, we can keep our brand consistent and compelling. And I think that no matter what size your business is, everybody out there can build a brand.
Munoz: So what is your advice to others when it comes to that authenticity and it comes to being so real and genuine? I think it can be scary for some, because you really have to put yourself out there. So what is your advice, Kelsey, for people that might be struggling with that part of this?
Moreira: My advice is Nike's tagline, just do it. I think getting out there and being able to extend, you know, what I see when I get to talk about this publicly and thank you for letting me share my story here, it's like I get to reach a hand out. Somebody out there that's listening who wants to talk about recovery or is maybe considering their relationship with alcohol or X, Y, Z thing that they're putting in place of dealing with any emotions, I'm here, I'm here to talk and I'm here to show you that there's a better path. I think vulnerability breeds vulnerability. And the more we can do that in front of others, the more we allow someone else who really needs to talk to talk.
Munoz: So moving forward, hopefully it's not a pandemic, but there's all these things we don't know about. What is your advice for us to plan and be ahead of the game in sorts for business owners?
Greer: We were ready because we'd been doing the work. We had the website set up, we had the product selection, we had the social media following, we had the plans for what happens if our revenue dips this much or goes up this much. We had all of these pieces in place. So when the pandemic hit was basically ramping up this one portion of it and focusing and committing to that, and that's what saved us. And I mean literally saved us because we placed all our lost brick and mortar revenue with our website and then a little bit more. So it's just, sometimes I just feel so incredibly blessed, but then I also think, yes, but you were also ready and you worked really hard and you committed. I think one thing that's really important is to not wish that things would go away. I didn't say, "Oh well, it'll be better in a month and I'll just reopen the store." You have to face things with a clear eye and you have to make the change and commit to it. That's what I did. And I think if I hadn't, we wouldn't have been as successful.
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