What part of your retail business needs a little extra boost?
We recently held the second Small Business School Challenge, featuring teams from some of the top MBA programs in the United States (Carnegie Mellon, Yale, UC Berkeley, and more) to answer this question.
The retail businesses who participated came to the table with the challenges they’re facing, especially during the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19. They were paired up with an MBA team to brainstorm solutions and come up with a plan to alleviate their biggest pain point.
Over 48 hours, the small businesses and MBA candidates worked side by side… virtually, of course. But it felt like they were in the same room, thanks to high-def video and voice conferencing from RingCentral.
The teams collaborated via video to find clarity and create a path to greater sustainability and success. Thanks to the studies of the MBA students, small business owners received cutting-edge, data-driven insights to help them make decisions going forward.
1 key suggestion from the MBA teams: to increase website traffic and overall online presence
How to increase website traffic and overall online presence
The retail business case study
A & S Soap Co., a handmade soap company, wanted to increase website traffic and their presence in the online market.
A&S Soap Co. worked with MBA students from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. The MBA’s came up with the following recommendations:
We as a team recommend that A & S Soap Co. revamps its website, focuses on branding, and expands its marketing channels.”
Revamping the website will include a new membership program that will introduce a reward system to incentivize customers to continue buying A & S Soap Co.’s products. Customers can shop nine different times, and on the tenth time, the customer will be rewarded a small bath bomb or some other small incentive along with the rest of the customer’s purchase. Also revamping the website will introduce additional payment methods (Paypal, etc.).
Branding is important because Sadé (the owner) is such a passionate person, and we felt that from the logo to her social media platform, she could incorporate more of herself to really speak to her customers.
Expanding marketing channels will include wholesalers/distributors and e-commerce platforms (Amazon, Etsy).
The MBA takeaways for your business
- Find your unique strengths and build your brand around them. Bring more of the personality and uniqueness into your online presence and across different social platforms, including personal messages from owners and staff.
- Reward your return customers. Consider building in rewards programs that give discounts or bonuses to repeat shoppers.
- Make the shopping and buying processes as simple as possible by expanding ways to pay online. Leverage technology to make purchasing simple and enjoyable.
MBA advice for your retail business
The Small Business School Challenge brought together great minds from both worlds, both business owners and future entrepreneurs. Their combined knowledge and experiences produced a wealth of advice for any small business.
If you’re interested in this meeting of the minds, add your contact details on our ‘I’m Interested’ form to recieve the announcement of the next challenge.
Until then, stay tuned for more takeaways and tips in this series from our MBA teams that can help your small business.