Canadian Music Trade - October/November 2021 - Page 21

From the Floor

buddy to a portable amp , or a retired teacher to a digital keyboard . Both the customers and I know they can shop online or at other stores . But when you take time to listen to what they are looking for or give them advice even if they don ’ t make a purchase , they appreciate it and they ’ ll come back , even if it ’ s just to show you a new chord they learned or chat about a pedal they saw online .
5 . Small towns get it During the pandemic , customers really came to understand that when they shop local , they are supporting their friends , family and neighbours , the people they see at the grocery store , that hire their teenager , or that donate to a fundraiser or good cause . Business owners helped each other , too , following and sharing on social media , sending messages to just check in , and getting creative with promotions by partnering with other businesses or buying gift certificates from a hair salon or gym that was locked down to include in a giveaway . It ’ s a joint relationship with a common goal of helping the community succeed and move forward into the future ... even when times are tough .
6 . Be more accommodating on your return policy As rediscovering a love of music grew , there were lots of purchases for birthdays and gifts based on the website or a social media post . When in-person shopping was restricted , I even stood in the doorway and demoed different instruments . I always gave a guarantee that if it wasn ’ t the right fit , it could be returned with no questions asked . Sometimes that did happen and returns would have to be disinfected , which definitely took up more time , but in the end , it was about keeping customers happy and keeping people playing music . looking for positive ways to fill their time at home . As online lessons became more popular , there were a lot of restrings , setups , and cleanups to guitars , violins , keyboards , and drum kits . I was able to work on some really cool instruments , including a 1980s Gibson U2 SuperStrat , a Peavey Max 800W amp , a late- ‘ 70s Ovation electric bass , and some really old Fenders .
7 . A little loyalty goes a long way Since the day I opened nearly 12 years ago , customer service has always been my foundation and during the pandemic , it paid off . Even with the new demands , shipping problems , delays , and never-ending cleaning , even when the signs on the door changed yet again and people had to wait outside in the cold , customers still came back . They were patient , like the guy who waited six months for a piano . They were grateful , like the grandmother in the States who wanted a special ukulele for a child who lived about 20 km away from the store . Not only was I able to order it in , but I delivered it for free in time for the grandkid ’ s birthday . They enjoy the convenience and experience of having a music store close by and want to support you to keep you hanging in there . And it really helped on those very stressful days . Like other local businesses , I made a point of posting Thank You messages to customers , letting them know they were making a difference and how much their support was appreciated .
That sign left on my door in March 2020 is now framed and will sit on my front counter until the pandemic is over . A reminder that even though my music store is for me and my dream , it is also for my customers and my community and we will get through this together !
4 . People appreciate personalized service I know my customers and the products I carry . This makes it easy to match up the neighbour ’ s kid to a starter acoustic , a weekend band
Richard Popiez is the owner of A & R Music in Walkerton , ON . To find out more , contact A & R Music at 519-507-5550 or armusic @ wightman . ca , or go to www . armusic . ca .