If there is one thing we can learn from COVID 19, it’s: previous strategies and plans don’t work anymore. Therefore, retailers, in response to this crisis, may need new and modern solutions in order to increase footfall to the physical stores.
Though the Covid-19 health crisis continues to pose threats, a lot of businesses have now started to get back on their feet. A few bright spots can be seen around the world. The number of recovery is increasing, stores are reopening, people start to go out more often and governments are letting loose on quarantine restrictions, …. These are signs of a new and optimistic future for retailers and business owners all over the world.
That’s why we are here to give you some ways to sail through this storm and promote visits to your brick-and-mortar stores.
Put customer’s health and safety on top
The very first thing you need to do: Keep your customers and staff safe!
If you want people to come visit your store, you need to guarantee that they are in a perfectly safe place.
In order to do that, common actions would be limiting physical contact between staff and shoppers, displaying items further apart, providing your customers with safety equipment and more importantly, making sure that your shop is frequently cleaned and hand sanitizer are always available in store.
If possible, try to limit the number of people inside your store. That way, your customers would feel much more comfortable shopping and your employees can serve them even better.
Walmart, for example, has limited customer presence to no more than 5 people per 1,000 square feet in the store at any given time. They are using floor markers, cart wipes, hand sanitizers and in addition to that, the staff also direct people to leave at different doors in order to keep customers feel safe and secured.
Contactless payment are breaking through
The way people shop has changed amid the break of Covid 19. During this time, it seems unlikely that customers would want to handle cash and coins which have gone through millions of hands. So now is the perfect time for contactless payment to step forward and show its benefits as being safe, secure and much more convenient.
In other words, contactless payments are a way of paying without needing any kind of physical contact. If you see a person paying for a drink by tapping their card or mobile phone into a machine, you have seen how this “tap-to-pay” system works.
Contactless transactions are set to increase and become a more preferred payment method around the world. For instance, Mastercard has confirmed the shift, stating that 50% of consumers are now using contactless payment.
This rise of this new system can be seen when just after the COVID 19 crisis spread through, 50% of U.S. consumers reported using contactless payment methods at least four times, with 69% agreeing contactless payments were more convenient than cash.
Make sure people know you are re-open
Once everything is in place, it’s time to notice your customers about the reopening. Get the word out by publishing posts on social media, contact your shoppers via email or SMS. Make sure that you provide them with the safety policies you have planned out for your store, so that people know they are safe to come.
Try to get creative with your posts for that’s the fastest way to attract your customer’s intention. As a case of point, Party City published an interesting video that captures how things are organized at stores after reopening and promote their new slogan: “Spread Joy, Not Germs”
Offer exclusive in-store promotions
Target uses Cartwheel as a program that offers from 5% to 50% off certain items when you shop in store. As a result, it generated $3 billion in revenue for the company last year alone.
This has illustrated how discounts can be super handy in attracting new customers, building loyalty among existing customers and increasing your sales. You can incentivize customers by offering coupons and deals that only work in the store. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
- Offer a “Bring your friend or family” discount. This would definitely give customers a reason to visit your store.
- Treat your shoppers with free samples, giving them an opportunity to try out new products
- Multi-buy offer is a good way to reduce your stock excess after quarantine time.
And remember, people are always in the mood for shopping, even when a crisis stands in their way. Therefore, as long as you keep running promotions and sending offers, people will continue to go in and out of your shops.
Never underestimate the power of quality
Have you ever wondered why there are shops or restaurants with no sign, no advertisements, no big promotions but people are still lining up for them? What is their secret?
The big answer is nothing else but the power of quality! High quality is basically everything that your customer is looking for beside other elements like prices or customer services. Therefore, you need to take time and effort to invest in your product’s quality or else, people will cut you off their favourite list after just one purchase.
To illustrate this, when the French luxury brand, Chanel, said that there would be a price rise the following week, hundreds of people in Korea waited in line before dawn with the hope to purchase their favorite items and this happened during the COVID 19 crisis.
Buy online pick up in store (BOPIS)
Buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) has strongly exploded within the last few months due to COVID-19 and the in-person shopping restrictions. Customers now are trying to spend as little time as possible in stores in order to keep themselves safe and protected.
This is when BOPIS kicks in with the most effective solution for this matter. Now customers can easily and efficiently purchase products from the comfort of their phones and pick them up at stores without spending time waiting in line.
Popular stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Apple, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Walmart, and Target all offer this increasingly popular service and their sales are booming!
Create unique in-store experiences
When people are reluctant to go shopping, the best thing you can do is come up with compelling experiences that people don’t see everyday. Bring out deals that captivate customers and entice them to check out your store. Use your originality to get inside your customer’s head and curiosity will eventually drive them to your shop.
One company that does this well is SKP Beijing. They are hosting pop-up stores that will bring in brands that are extremely rare in mainland China as well as limited-edition collaborations that will only be available at the physical stores.
A pandemic this impactful will be hard to forget, but there is one thing we can do. It’s to change and adapt and we need to do it as soon as possible. Customers are bound to shop again and there is no better time to adjust your habit and start welcoming new shoppers!