Retail has changed.
It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 outbreak has been devastating to retail. With the government mandating store closures nationwide, retailers are facing huge challenges with layoffs, operational overhead, rent, and inventory.
Major retailers such as JD Sports, Urban Outfitters and Target have already submitted claims to not pay rent during the time of closures while other retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Carhartt, and Canada Goose have opened their factories to manufacturing facial masks and hospital gear during the time of need.
Needless to say, it is trying times for Retail. However, there are steps that retailers should be taking to help consumers as they are forced into a solely e-commerce world.
1. Take the pulse of the current landscape and category demand to understand the needs of your customers:
Your customer’s needs have dramatically changed overnight and you need to prepare for what that means. The first place you should look is where they find you first, your digital profiles.
Your analytics dashboard can gauge how consumers are engaging with your profiles. Website Visits and Phone calls up? Could be a great indicator your customers are needing more information on your current Covid Updates or product availability.
Making sure that you are updating your profiles to meet the times is crucial. Use your Google My Business Profile to post information about your business, hours, delivery times, and more importantly, what actions you are taking as a business to continue to give exceptional customer service.
2. This is your time to offer something new and open up a new channel of business:
Just because your business has had to close its doors, doesn’t mean you are closed for business. There are a lot of customers, especially in local markets who are going strong to support businesses that are suffering.
Don’t have a strong e-commerce channel set up? That’s okay. Take the time now to open a marketplace for things that can be shipped online. Do you have a service rather than a product? Push gift cards and promotions.
A lot of stores right now are offering “Buy a Gift Certificate for $100, get $25 on us”. These work well. It helps you maintain some cash flow in the time of closure while also creating a customer loyalty program. Don’t worry about getting the message out to your customers of your new offering, you can embed it straight into your digital profiles under your promotions tab for them to discover easily.
Another thing to consider is virtual gift cards that can be gifted. Since social distancing has put a damper on social events and outings, offer a virtual gift card that can be transferred to someone else. This is an easy way for people to buy birthday gifts, wedding gifts, baby gifts, etc. without leaving the comfort of their home or worry about any risks in shipping.
3. Adjust in real time. As consumer behavior shifts, make sure product information is up to date and communications to ensure you’re striking the right tone during this time:
Using a platform like Synup’s Posts feature can keep clients up to date on your Google profile. Consumers need relevant information more than ever, especially when searching for your business/products. Highlight features that are in high demand with their product availability, the COVID safety measures that are in place, and any help articles that can guide them through recent adjustments in your purchasing process.
For small businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, we are offering our product free so that you can make these updates and stay in touch with your customers. Arguably, customers are searching now more than ever, making sure that you are not only staying in front of them, but giving them the information they need to trust your band.
For all updated information about what is happening in your area with COVID-19 on infection rates, testing centers, restaurant delivery, etc. You can visit our COVID-19 Information Hub here.