Charlotte Khan, owner of Moo Like a Monkey, spoke to TNP about transitioning from being a predominantly brick and mortar shop with an online presence, to an online-only business, while the country remains affected by Covid-19.
Firstly, how are you and the team?
We are exhausted from the last few weeks, uncertain about the future, but determined for the business to survive this.
Do you feel the government is offering enough support for independent retailers?
It’s hard to say because we have no timelines to work from. A grant and a loan will keep us afloat for a few months, if it continues for six months or more, we’ll need more help.
Are you finding social media useful in connecting with customers?
Connecting with customers on social media has been vital to us in the last couple of weeks. Mainly for reminding them that we are still operating and keeping us in the forefront of their minds.
What’s your online presence like?
We were predominantly a brick and mortar shop with an online presence, although the website is now our main focus. I’m reluctant to spend on too many new products in such uncertain times, but a couple of our suppliers have agreed to let us drop-ship larger items, which is working well because we have fresh products to add to our website and sell without buying the stock upfront.
Have you thought of any other ways to adapt your service to continue trading?
Initially we offered free shipping to give us a boost of online sales. We saved money on postage by hand delivering all local orders on a same-day service. Our local customers came out in support; we had a good week of sales. Since being on lockdown, Royal Mail have reduced their service for non-essential packages, so we have found other couriers we can rely on. The products we are pushing on social media are tailored to being at home with kids. Toys and kids’ products will be a huge part of people’s spending as they adjust to being at home and keeping their kids entertained.
What are your stock levels like at the moment?
Our stock levels are decent at the moment. We have already re-stocked some best-sellers, but until we know what the next month or so will bring, I’m unsure how much to invest in stock. I have been doing some small orders to keep the website looking full, mainly from suppliers who are allowing me to order below the usual minimum order.
How can suppliers help you?
Allow smaller orders, I want our website to be stocked but I can’t afford the risk of holding too much stock. Drop-shipping has really helped us over the last couple of weeks. Be flexible and understanding, we are doing everything we can to stay in business so we can carry on buying in the future.
What were you experiences of trading pre-lockdown?
We stayed opened for as long as we could, but footfall fell dramatically, and we felt being open wasn’t necessarily the safest thing to do anyway. Once we had made the decision to close the shop, we began transporting all of the stock to our house and we have been working entirely from our spare room fulfilling online orders.
Do you see any opportunities in all of this?
It’s certainly forced us to ramp up our online activity sooner than we’d planned. Families are spending more time together than ever. Toys and educational activities are much-needed, and people will be shopping online.
How could Toys ‘n’ Playthings assist you?