While focusing on cutting down the impact of COVID-19, retail consumers have limited the amount of shopping they are doing, or they getting it done online. With the lock-down beginning to ease, how will your customers feel about entering stores and shopping there again?
After weeks of self-isolation, there is no doubt that people will want to get out and experience the feeling of walking through a store, leisurely browsing the well-stocked shelves. There will be, however, a lingering feeling that they need to rush, not touch anything and get out as quickly as possible. Retailers will need to make sure that they make their customers once again feel comfortable shopping in their stores in order to coax shoppers into staying awhile.
Here are a few things you can do:
Make it Shine – A clean store will speak volumes to customers. Make certain that everything is clean, including the floor, shelving, check out counters and products. During the pandemic, routine cleaning of surfaces and equipment with EPA-approved cleaning chemicals from list N has been a must. Keep up that practice after customers come back and let them know about it. Post cleaning procedures and schedules for customers to see, so they know the store is clean, and set up hand-sanitizer stations around the store.
Offer Touchless Transactions – Many shoppers prefer touchless transactions or self-checkout these days. Check with your POS provider or merchant account provider to see if you can offer a touchless option for your customers to use along with their mobile phone, or make sure you have a card reader they can insert their cards into without any other interaction. Even if not everyone uses these options, you will be ready for those who are hesitant to touch pin-pads and credit card terminals.
Offer Curbside Pickup – Ease customers back into the shopping experience with curbside pickup options. The experiences of the last several months may leave a lasting impression on some customers, so give them the option to pick up their order outside the store. Paint may be a bit of a problem for this method, but you can help them pick out those colors by putting together packets of paint sample chips that are free, just as they would be in the store. Most people have a general idea of the paint color they want to buy, so put together packets of the same color family. They can tell you what color family they want to see such as whites, grays, blues, etc. Figure out a creative way to package the paint sample chips along with your store information so they don’t forget where they got them. You may go through more paint sample chips this way, but you will gain appreciative, loyal customers for going the extra mile for them.
Keep Staff Ready – Make sure your staff are all informed and ready to help customers who may still be a bit fearful. They should keep their distance from customers while also being friendly and willing to help. Make sure they know that the store surfaces should all be sanitized frequently and that they comply with any rules in your area about social distancing, if any are still in effect. Offer your staff training so they are well-versed on customer service techniques and also make sure they have the necessary product training they need. Well-trained employees are more confident and will be an asset to your business.
Step Up Your Marketing Efforts – Keep in touch with your customers! Emails, social media posts and videos will let them know you are there, ready and waiting to help them. Especially after things get back to normal, don’t forget to stay in touch and let your followers know that you are still there, ready to help them in a safe, efficient way and that your store is a clean, safe place for them to shop.
To help you keep up with your marketing and communications with your customers, PDRA is offering independent retailers complimentary access to our Content Marketing Program during the months of May and June, 2020. You will receive 5 professional articles, 5 professional photos that complement the articles, and an HTML newsletter template for sending through your email provider. You can use the materials however you like; in your blog, on social media, or in a newsletter.
CLICK HERE for access to the materials.