Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Increasing accessibility
By offering flexible opening hours, businesses can differentiate themselves and attract customers with varying lifestyles.
As society changes, lifestyles have developed and diversiﬁed. An increasing demand for convenience and freedom has overtaken the market in recent years, providing competitive advantage for corporations that cater to the demands of the 24-hour consumer.
By remaining open for business 24 hours a day, there is the obvious potential of increased trade. Slightly less obvious is the advantage of building a perception among your customers of being different, customer-oriented, and convenient. It is also an opportunity to attract customers that may not have used your store, as you may be the only business open. These new clients may then continue visiting your business even when other competitors are open.
British retail giant Tesco employed this strategy with impressive results. The only British supermarket to remain open 24 hours a day, it broke from its close rivalry with other chain stores to gain a convincing lead within the market.
This technique has also been employed by a range of other companies courting customers with disposable income and difﬁcult schedules— certain London estate agents (realtors) offer a late-night service for busy individuals. Don’t be put off by a lack of a “standard schedule” for your customer—use it as an opportunity to prosper in the “24-hour society” by becoming a 24-hour business.
- If your organization is unready or unsuited for the move toward all-day trading, it is possible to choose only select areas of your business (such as customer service) that will remain open 24 hours a day.
- Using a skeleton staff and minimizing operations can cut costs during times you are open but not conducting much trade— such as late at night or early in the morning
- Ensure a positive experience for customers, even at the times when using a skeleton staff. The quality of their experience will decide whether they return in future.
- Be ﬂexible—for example, many businesses comply with British Sunday trading laws by opening early for browsing but not allowing any actual purchases until the legally permitted time.
- Offering 24-hour opening can be challenging for smaller ﬁrms, but it is possible to accommodate complex customer schedules by simply offering ﬂexible opening hours.