The corona pandemic presents a great challenge for the stationery sector. People’s freedom of movement is currently severely limited. Home office instead of everyday office life, closed stores and changes in consumers’ purchasing behaviour: Covid-19 is forcing us to transform. Digital service offerings can help get through these troubling times.
Even though shop doors are currently closed, there are still ways to reach customers. Some retailers are showing how it’s done and taking orders via telephone, e-mail or social media, such as stationery shop Schreibwaren Strohmeier. Here, customers can order via e-mail and the wares are delivered by post and payable via invoice. Other retailers are using social media as a communication and sales channel in order to stay in contact with their customers and distribute their wares. Retailers can present a product with a picture/video, product description, price and info on how the product can be acquired with one simple post. There are even solutions for smaller retailers. For example, a “stationery-mobile” that gets the products to customers’ homes is a great idea.
Where time used to be scarce, there is now more than enough. This extra time can be used to bring your own communication up to date. Whether with blog posts or by updating your social media feed, this goal can be accomplished in many ways. Small arts & crafts shops are providing ideas on YouTube or Instagram with daily DIY videos, inviting their community to join in on the fun. Others are offering customer advice via video chat and virtually walking their customers around the store. What’s important is staying in contact with your customers and aligning your communication according to their needs.
While some retailers in the stationery sector are well-positioned online, others must now overcome an enormous hurdle in order to deal with the current circumstances. Now it is up to retailers to find a way to continue their own business model digitally or expand it otherwise. Providers such as Shopify or Wix.com are particularly suitable for entering into online business, as they distinguish themselves by simplicity and modular systems. Specific support to realise this is offered by the German digital association “Bitkom” and the “Kompetenzzentrum Handel”. Their websites provide extensive information and free-of-charge webinars concerning digital transformation. Besides the option of operating an online shop yourself, there is also the possibility of using a service provider that is specialised in online business and offers a fulfilment service.
A crisis offers the possibility to be creative and do something new – that is to say: new ideas and approaches that bring encouragement and revive business.