Minnesota retail stores adapting sales strategies amid stay-at-home order

Mainstream Boutique has increased its amount of live videos on social media to reach customers amid the stay-at-home order.

Under Minnesota’s stay-at-home order, the business landscape has changed dramatically and for some, it may never look the same. Those in the retail industry say they’re doing their best to adapt.

Sales may be down, but the attitude at Chanhassen’s Mainstream Boutique is nothing but up. When the pandemic meant shoppers couldn’t go to the store, employees started bringing the store to them. That means lots of pictures, videos and live videos on social media of all that Mainstream has to offer. Workers say the trend will likely continue.

“The videos are just huge,” said Tammy Wiborg of Mainstream Boutique. “The girls that can’t make it in love this. What if they have kid at home and have to get them to bed, ya know? You can shop from your couch.”

The heavy online presence is keeping the store alive. Governor Tim Walz seems to think what they’re doing will become more normal as the state eventually gets back to usual business.

“Very few people are going to go in and try on clothes right now whether a retail store is open or not,” said Walz. “And they’re trying to figure out, and we’re seeing some of the folks who are thinking this through. What will that look like from a customers’ perspective when they walk through the door? They’re talking to people about what it’s going to take to get them back in.”

“We had one customer, actually a regular customer, she said, ‘I’ll probably wait another 14 days before I come into the store if you guys reopen,’” said Wiborg.

While clothing stores might end up making online sales a more permanent way of operating, same goes for at least one home décor shop, which at the beginning of all this was actually planning an exit strategy.

Chad Dressen of Chaska’s Carver Junk Company posted on Facebook that he was in panic mode when he shifted to start promoting online sales, but it worked, with sales possibly better this April than in 2019. 

“We’ve kind of caught the perfect storm of people itching to shop while stuck at home and people who are literally going out of their way to help support small businesses and we couldn’t be more thankful for all of it,” said Dressen in a statement.

Dressen and staff at Mainstream Boutique say they think online sales will be a larger percentage of overall sales going forward. However, everyone says it can never totally replace the benefits of seeing customers face-to-face.

“We do, we truly miss our people. Truly,” said Wiborg.