Retail marketing agency suggests small businesses 'reinvent' themselves during pandemic

MILWAUKEE -- It seems gone are the days of customers packing into a store, trying to get their hands on that coveted item. Instead, it's about sanitizing and lessening the crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has not only changed the way we interact with each other, but also, the way we shop.

"There are so many ways to look at where things are going and the consumer moving forward," said Erik Rosenstrauch.

Erik Rosenstrauch

Rosenstrauch is the CEO of the retail marketing agency FUEL Partnerships.

"We help brands design strategies and programs to drive sales," he said.

He said in order to stay afloat, it's time for retailers to think about reinventing themselves -- with many customers moving to online shopping.

"We continue to see this digital system grow -- clicks to bricks -- people shopping digitally and picking up physically, or shopping digitally, but from physical stores," he said.

To be competitive in the long term, he suggests reservation shopping for some Mom and Pop shops.

"What if you are at a local store, and you could say, I will only let five people in my store an hour, but you pick the time you come, and I am going to offer you, really, face-to-face customer service."

Or -- the employees could even put the items directly into the customer's trunk.

"What a great way for local small businesses to outperform bigger stores," he said.

Rosenstrauch said retailers should consider ways to leverage better service -- while also keeping people safe.

"You need to innovate," he said.

As economies reopen, he said now is the time to think about alternative ways to be successful.

"I want you to think about, how can you provide value to your customers?" said Rosenstrauch. "How can you save them money, or make their life easier?"