Covid-19 has affected many retail businesses negatively, especially the smaller ones which may not have had the resources to continue operating like some of the bigger ones do. Even so, it’s interesting to learn that many business owners have found various ways to stay relevant and keep their businesses running.
RetailPay has partners who operate their retail stores at the bottom of the pyramid and there have been numerous challenges during this season. Many have decreased sales brought about by having fewer customers, while others who relied on other sources of credit from banks and other financial institutions, have found themselves unable to borrow as they are now deemed too risky.
Indeed, great innovations and inventions have been spurned out of adversity. Our retailers have shown ingenuity during the Covid-19 pandemic as they turn to low-cost but impactful ways to carry on with their trade.
We visited some of our retailer partners to learn the steps they are taking to ensure their businesses stay relevant. Here’s what they shared.
Rashid & Linacy - Rasmi Mart
“I profiled my customers and went down to the nitty gritties to find out even their favourite sodas; this has helped me ensure all their needs and tastes are catered for. I am happy because RetailPay has continued to supply me with a wide range of products during this period.” Rashid said with a smile.
“For us at Rasmi, it did not only affect the traffic of clients but also our sales by almost 85% since our sales are dependent on the traffic of people who come in and out of our store to shop. We therefore had to come up with ideas on how to limit the damages and improve on the deteriorating sales.
First was to restock our store with essential products for this period such as food stuff and cleaning detergents. This was easy for us because our partner RetailPay, supplies us with all these products and safely delivers them to our shop, which is so convenient as we don’t have to risk exposing ourselves by moving around.
Secondly, after we confirmed the availability of the stock delivered to us through the RetailPay platform, our next challenge was to find ways of getting these products to our clients and bringing them back to our store to get all they needed under one roof.
We used the Kopo Kopo platform (Lipa na M-Pesa) to identify all our clients who make payments to us using this platform. We selected their telephone numbers and created a WhatsApp group where we had almost all our clients; this was manageable because the government had already advised people not to use cash while making transactions. Our clients welcomed it as it was easy for them to know what was available in our store.
Thirdly, we came up with the idea to have clients within a walking distance send us their orders via WhatsApp or text messages so that we would deliver to them and they would pay on delivery. RetailPay also always alerts us whenever products are discounted so we advertise them on the WhatsApp group as it’s a great incentive for our clients.
We are optimistic that when the situation gets back to ‘normal’, business will be good, given that more people are gaining trust in us daily.”
Andrew - Jadore Stores
“It has been a difficult time as most of our customers have either traveled or have reduced to no income to make regular purchases. Most customers only want the basic commodities like unga, sugar, cooking oil and cleaning supplies. Therefore, we have maximised the brands we have for basic commodities to ensure all our customers are catered for.
I’m grateful to RetailPay as they have ensured we receive a wide variety of products without paying upfront. I only pay for what I sell.
When Covid-19 struck, we felt like it was Christmas. It was a busy time as my customers stocked up to ensure they didn't run out of supplies. However, after some time, business came to a halt as my customers faced job cuts and unpaid leave. Some even traveled upcountry.
During this time, I have had to change tactics and be very strategic in decisions I make. Currently, I am focused on stocking fast moving goods that are easily available, affordable and within the basic frame. I have also minimized on stocking non- essential goods and offering credit to customers, as they may be unable to pay when their credit period elapses.
The situation has taught me that a business cannot be over reliant on financing from banks and other financial institutions. At this point, it has become risky to lend. As a business person, you should be able to plough back profits to enable you to finance your own operations.
I am grateful to RetailPay as we have been able to pay for products accessed from the platform from a wide number of suppliers. Making payments has been easy as I only pay for what I have sold.”
These testimonies are a great source of motivation for our team and we hope they inspire you to continue to implement new and wonderful tatics to run your shop in the best ways possible.