30 October 2021
By Roger Jones
The Covid period has been pretty hard for many businesses and it still is for quite a few. People stayed more at home and changed their spending patterns. This meant local businesses in Cork had to reinvent themselves and find new ways to do business. Especially online has been the rescue for a lot of retailers and restaurants. While physical establishments were limited, people were more likely to order online. This goes especially for convenience goods and food. Now that the Covid situation is much more under control, businesses are adapting their strategies making them future proof and applying lessons learned.
Combined retail strategies
Physical and online stores
Surely one of the winning models on a local level is a combination of a physical and online presence. There will always be products that people would like to try and touch before they buy. In other situations, online will be more convenient, like shopping for standard articles. A good example of a business that offers this combination is the Guineys homestore Cork. People have the option to touch and see products physically, for example when buying curtains or clothes. Materials, colours, sizes and personalization are easier to value in person in a shop, especially when buying expensive products or products with specific requirements. On the other hand, online buying surely has its advantages for standard products and avoids returns and possible delivery issues. The same goes for restaurants. Ordering food online is a great option for a quick bite, but the experience of eating out is hard to beat.
Cork city live
Of course, for Cork as a city, it is of vital essence to have local businesses that attract people. This will keep the city alive. Both locals and tourists love to be entertained, visit original shops and eat in restaurants with a pleasant ambience. Luckily the city is aware of this. In the City Development Plan of Cork a variety of strategies are worked out to keep Cork attractive despite of the foreseen growth. So, if you are planning to open a business in Cork then have a look at the plan to make sure you will be located in an attractive area.
Typically, businesses set up an online channel next to their physical establishment although the other way around is also quite common. Stores that started out online, open showrooms or physical stores to have local presence leading to more visibility, confidence and revenues. Online presence has the additional advantage of its scalability. Especially in the case of non-perishable products, sales can be nationwide or even beyond. This offers a huge potential for local businesses being able to scale their revenues. Once the logistics are sorted out, any region can be served. Especially in the case of niche products, local offer is often limited and people will be more likely to order online from a specialized store.
So, there are plenty of options for a business to use the online channel to grow, but the local market will always be there and people certainly will enjoy any business that adds value to Cork!