Running a retail business is not an easy feat, especially post-pandemic. The retail environment has changed drastically, leaving many small businesses finding it difficult to navigate these new challenges in 2023.
At the 2023 Newmarket Business Associations Awards, one of Auckland’s most popular precincts for shopping, bag brand Deadly Ponies won three awards, making a name for itself as one of New Zealand’s leading retailers.
Deadly Ponies took home the Best Customer Experience, Most Sustainable Business of the Year and Supreme Winner awards on the night.
CEO of the Newmarket Business Association, Mark Knoff-Thomas says that the awards celebrate businesses and is a great way to recognise small businesses for their hard work and commitment “after what’s been a challenging few years”.
To understand how to run a retail business in a changing landscape, Steven Boyd, Managing Director of Deadly Ponies and Knoff-Thomas sat down with Idealog to answer our questions.
When it comes to creating and maintaining a business in 2023, has changed over the last few years?
Boyd: Expect the unexpected.
Retail is susceptible to the recent volatile market conditions, so we have learnt to focus our customer experience on being humble, kind and genuine – meaning we can guarantee we have community support during the good times and the bad.
Having won the Most Sustainable Business of the Year at the Newmarket Business Awards, how important is sustainability in the business space right now?
Boyd: I would say it is in the top three purchasing considerations, and I would like it to be number one.
Emissions targets are the easiest to track, but they are just pieces of the puzzle.
I believe every business should be taking full responsibility for the life-cycle of their products and have a plan for how to best manage their creations at end-of-life.
How can a business juggle both an e-commerce platform and a physical space?
Boyd: There should always be synergy between the two, but they are unique experiences and consumers act very differently, so it should never be one size fits all.
What are some vital tips you would give to other small businesses hoping to run their very-own retail business in 2023 (whether e-commerce or brick-and-mortar)?
Boyd: It all starts with great product. From there you need to build a team that is better at selling your dream than you are. With those two ingredients, it is hard to go wrong.
Knoff-Thomas: What seems to work well is having a thorough understanding of customer’s wants and needs. This, coupled with points of difference from your competitors, goes a long way to give you a market-leading edge.
We have many great examples of retailers successfully doing this in Newmarket. They deliver high-quality products with exceptional customer service, backed up by a consistent omni-channel customer experience. Whether it’s e-commerce or brick-and-mortar, when customers feel valued and engaged, they’re more likely to come back for more.