Whether you supported or opposed the deregulation of store hours, the changing rules present a rare opportunity for your business.
In the coming months consumers are going to expect a shift in the operating hours of businesses in the city, as the behemoths of retail play with hours to find the best mix for this market. Signs stating “new hours” will get extra attention, and regardless of if you want to burn the midnight oil it’s an opportunity.
Sudbury has had an off mix of hours in comparison to other communities. Where other communities were forced to contend with varied hours for much longer, many Sudbury businesses have stuck with 9-5.
It wasn’t all that long ago that single income nuclear families were the norm. With one member of the household home from 9 to 5 it made retails job easier and more predictable. Now there is no norm. Households are made up of shift workers, single parents, dual incomes and everything in between. Finding the right retail hour mix is more of an art than a science.
Your time is valuable, as is your patrons, and finding the right compromise to give you the time you deserve while maximizing your return on investment is going to be a challenge. But it will be a challenge that can pay back both in time and in money.
So how do you decide what works best? Start with your customers. Talk to the customers you have and the ones you want. Don’t just ask them about when they would like to shop. Often what seems like a good idea on paper doesn’t work out in reality. Instead ask them about their average week; when do they generally shop, when do they work and when do they relax. What kind of activities do they do in groups, what do they do alone.
Next try and match up your business to their reality. If a large part of your market is driving by your shop on the way to work, can you realistically get them to pop in? Or, is that extra 10 minutes in bed more appealing than a morning purchase (note: if you sell caffeinated beverages you can easily sway this argument). Maybe the hours following work have a greater chance of success.
Once you have a good idea of what might work, talk to your business neighbours and see if they have overlap. Is there a time of the week you all find horribly slow or do you have a shared market with them that might benefit from a different set of shopping hours. You probably picked your location to leverage off your neighbours and getting them on board will greatly increase the chances of improved hours working and increase all of your bottom lines.
Click below download a worksheet to help you understand your target market and interview a few key clientele. What you learn may surprise you, and you may have a golden opportunity around the corner.