Face-to-Face Retailers Adapt to New Normal During Pandemic
Some retailers, like Olfactory Scent Studio and Mainstream Boutique in Maple Grove, rely on face-to-face interaction as part of their business model. They are adapting to offer products online as a way to weather the storm.
Olfactory Scent Studio Delivers Curbside, Sells Online
If you’ve ever walked into Olfactory Scent Studio in Maple Grove, there’s no doubt you probably got a whiff of various fragrances from almond to bubble bath and even bacon.
You may also remember the blending bar where people can create their own scent. Check out this feature story we did on Olfactory Scent Studio.
But like many retailers, the global pandemic left Olfactory Scent Studio empty inside with only one other option: online shopping.
“Online isn’t really what we’ve set out to do but like I said, you can always buy online but that’s now what we’re known for. We’re known for coming in and having an experience in getting away to a place to do something,” said owner Sue Brady.
The business got creative, producing products specifically for the quarantine. Brady said people can now order in-home candle kits to create their own scent. Brady said there’s also a virtual blending bar.
“We have a virtual blending bar where people can look through the list and choose 2-3 they like together and we have curbside pick up so they can pick up their products,” Brady explained.
She further added that they’ve received a major economic hit due to the pandemic, however the curbside pickups help them to continue engaging with customers.
“We like to personalize everything anyway, so curbside service is just an extension on that. we can connect with them virtually and pick a good time and we can run it to their car,” Brady said.
Mainstream Boutique Started Shopping Videos
Mainstream Boutique of Maple Grove are also relying more than ever on social media to show off new women’s clothing.
“We do shopping videos twice a week. We’ve been able to continue to engage with customers and have been able to meet their needs that way,” said Katy Kramp, owner of Mainstream Boutique.
The retailer is participating in curbside, delivery and shipping.
“It’s definitely been difficult in trying to reach customers. We used to do videos once a week, so it’s not new to us, but doing the actual selling of it has been a whole new ball game for us,” Kramp explained.
While these times are financially tough, Kramp said they are fortunate for loans and grants.
Kramp added that the business is taking this opportunity to help the community by donating 10 percent of sales to Daily Dose Café and Expresso.
“Daily Dose, which is right next door to us is doing free meals to hospitals. I was like ‘whoa we have to get behind them’,” Kramp explained.