A retail guide to reconnecting with customers

With much of Australia now back in business courtesy of the lockdown lift, bricks and mortar retailers are looking to make up for lost ground.

For many, that involves reconnecting with their customers and offering them an insight into what’s now available, how the instore environment has changed, and reassuring them about new hygiene measures or social distancing restrictions in-store.

So as retail enjoys its reopening, here’s a quick guide to reconnecting with customers.

Clear, concise communication

Many retailers have done an amazing job at keeping their existing customers up to date with exactly what’s been going on during the challenge of Covid-19.

Now is not the time to pull back on that communication, but instead offers the opportunity to gear up and really educate your consumer about your reopening.

Key information includes:

  • The fact you are indeed open and welcoming clientele
  • Opening hours
  • New products or services
  • Hygiene measures and social distancing requirements instore
  • Offers or incentives available
  • Additional services like online ordering and delivery, contactless pickup, virtual consults, virtual showrooms etc

Delivering the message

reconnecting with customers - delivering the message

From targeted email campaigns to the business website and social media, retailers have a wealth of avenues available to them to deliver a clear concise message about their reopening.

The art of ensuring it hits the right spot is to keep that information visibly current, to update it when required, and to ensure it is consistent across all channels.

Tools available include:

  • Website banners or pop-ups – Banners can be used on any page of a website, without interrupting the browsing experience for the viewer. Employ banners to highlight important announcements like opening times or altered services. Meanwhile popups can also be utilised to share lengthier messages.
  • Targeted email – Email allows retailers to connect with existing customers in a more personal way, delivering a message about reopening, and new or existing products directly into their inbox. Utilise your CRM or tools like MailChimp to connect with customers and let them know you are ready to get back to business.
  • The brand’s blog – Akin to your own publishing platform, the blog on your retail website is also a solid space to outline exactly what’s happening within your business as you reopen. This is also the place where opening hours, new products, or new strategies for hygiene and social distancing can be profiled in detail. This blog can then also be fed out as part of an email campaign.
  • Google opening hours – At the moment customers are acutely aware that Covid-19 has changed the day-to-day operation of retail. That means patrons more likely than ever to search your opening hours, prior to attending your premises. To facilitate this, ensure your hours are current and updated on Google.
  • Social media – Last but not least is social media, which offers a simple and conversational platform to quickly reveal what’s going on. Whether it’s through social media advertising or posts on a business page, reach out to current and prospective customers with announcements and information that engages your target audience.

Welcome back

reconnecting with customers

It has never been more important to live up to a customer’s expectation in-store. Recent research indicates 62 per cent of people are no longer confident in crowded locations, and 37 per cent of people will now shop more online as a result of Covid-19.

That means first impressions will be critical when it comes to welcoming the consumer back to an altered retail environment.

Areas the now cautious consumer will assess include:

  • Hygiene measures
  • Social distancing and store traffic
  • Product availability
  • Customer service

In addition to embracing hygiene and social distancing, that means retailers need to be on their game when it comes to product availability and customer service.

With people more likely to research before they enter a retail environment if a store says they have a product, they need to ensure it’s in stock and immediately available. Meanwhile, customer service needs to be second to none, giving people a reason to leave the sanctity of their homes to seek an expert retail opinion.

Top tips to ensure these expectations are met include:

  • Loss prevention and accurate stock counting to eliminate out-of-stocks
  • A streamlined checkout experience harnessing mobile Point of Sale, and contactless payments
  • Sufficient staff available
  • Staff education on products, services, store policies, and greetings
  • Traffic counting to ensure social distancing
  • Product experiences and displays which cater to the customer’s need to engage with a product without physically touching it (augmented reality, digital displays etc)

For more insight into how the retail experience is changing and innovating post-Covid-19, see here.