Opening a store in lockdown with e-Commerce instead

Bedshed Tuggerah Store Hoarding Awaiting Opening On Franchise Buyer

Originally set to open 2nd of August, Bedshed Tuggerah had to quickly transform into a solely e-Commerce business while waiting for restrictions to lift.

Our recent Q & A with Bedshed franchise owner, Jacqui Hill, focused on how they worked around the uncertainty of trying to open a store while in lockdown.

They have been able to transition so quickly to an online sales only operation, while a whole store sat idle without a set opening date.

Jacqui’s experience is without doubt also playing out across the entire market, with so many businesses in a state of readiness to operate their first days of ‘real’ trade, alongside those existing businesses unable to trade.

It’s an example of the flexibility and adaptability clearly playing out in all industries across the country.

Jacqui Hill Bedshed Tuggerah On Franchise Buyer

How have the delays affected your plans for the launch, marketing and start-up phase of the business? 

I’m trying to stay positive about what I can do, not what I can’t, and learn as much as I can ready for opening day.

The launch plan has been a bit bumpy, but the support of the entire Bedshed team has been amazing. The good news is that we were able to launch the business first via the Bedshed online platform and of course the (physical) store will come later.  

Our marketing focus has therefore been around our social media channels and using word of mouth as much as possible. All the phone calls from customers are diverted to my mobile and I can operate fully from home to help our customers.  

Trying to sell products I haven’t seen before is a little odd… but I’m finding other ways to provide the information our customers need to confidently buy over the phone or online.  

The first time they will see Bedshed Tuggerah is when the Bedshed branded truck turns up with their delivery. 

How has the store's physical construction progressed in lockdown? 

The Bedshed fitout team has been so responsive to the constant changes.  

The build has naturally taken longer than normal due to the two week construction lockdown, so we needed to pause activity for a while.  

Suppliers have been really accommodating in holding stock and deliveries until we have been ready to install, and we’ve also used local contractors where possible to support the community.  

Production times have been slightly longer, but that’s really all.

Bedshed Tuggerah On Franchise Buyer Mid Stage Fit Out

How different was your training in this environment?

In a word… “Very” different, as all training has been done online which is somewhat new for presenters and trainees alike. 

The sessions have been broken into smaller components to assist with retention and enable us to practice and implement some of the strategies prior to moving to the next stage.  

Most of the staff training has been put on hold until we have a definite opening date, where we plan to run some ‘sprint’ sessions to get the team up and running as quickly as possible.  

The team is really looking forward to getting started.

How has opening just in e-Commerce actually worked?

The customer remains at the heart of everything we do, and the positive is that we get more quality time to spend with them over the phone.  

More effort is placed on describing products and helping them navigate the online store so they can better visualise products. They also tend to put a lot of faith in my recommendations.  

We’ve found customers are finding it hard to buy over the phone, and are really appreciative of the solution based approach I am taking to help find what they are looking for. 

Is it much different in operation other than having an actual showroom open?

All of the processes and systems are pretty much the same. 

The hardest part is finding ways to connect with the customer to best understand how I can help.  Instead of connecting around how the product makes them feel, I find I am getting to know them at a more personal level as I try to find options for them to consider.  

It’s kind of funny how I will probably never see these customers, however they will remember the experience whenever they walk into their bedroom…and that feels good.

Bedshed Tiuggerah On Franchise Buyer Mid To End Stage Fit Out

What are your plans for the 'actual' store opening coming up?

One day at a time.  

We are working on the things we can influence, and providing suppliers with forward vision of what we will need when we do have an opening date. As we know it will be super frantic in the final stages.  

Many hands make light work and I have had lots of offers for support which I am extremely grateful for.  

I just can’t wait to fling open the doors & show everyone how amazing the store looks!

The whole team at franchise buyer just wanted to give a huge thanks to Jacqui for her wonderful contribution and effort in documenting just what it has been like opening a significant franchise business amongst these circumstances.

We wish Jacqui and her team all the success when they get the doors open to customers!

Bedshed Tuggerah On Franchise Buyer Bedshed Tuggerah Display On Franchise Buyer