*Editor’s Note: Since this interview took place, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced most retailers to close their doors, making a tough industry even more difficult. When we emerge from this crisis, local retailers will face all of the same challenges… and then some. Now more than ever, we must support them by shopping local.
Belle Mie is Peoria’s exclusive contemporary clothing store for those with a passion for fashion. Located in the Junction City Shopping Center, they strive to offer the best in customer service while dressing customers in the finest brands available.
What is your biggest challenge as a retailer in 2020?
I think one of the biggest challenges for my business is the lack of foot traffic, organic or specific.
What strategies do you employ to mitigate any downsides from the internet?
This goes hand in hand with the first question. People are not going out and shopping like they did in years past. The internet has made it far too easy to browse and purchase without leaving home. We invested in a new point-of-sale system with e-commerce built-in, as well as a loyalty program. It’s definitely created excitement for my clients!
Have you seen a sustained impact from recent Shop Local campaigns?
I think the Shop Local campaign is wonderful, and it has made people think before they purchase online: Can I get it locally?
What other trends are you seeing in retail?
I think online shopping has become mainstream for many reasons, but I also believe there is less satisfaction with purchases made online. Shopping in brick-and-mortar stores has many benefits that outweigh online shopping, and I think that will play a big part in the future of retail. PM