Even if closing due to health or safety concerns, retain your customers during the coronavirus outbreak, by promoting gift cards and discounts, to holding online events, among several ways small businesses can engage with customers during difficult times. Social distancing, though good for public health, is bad for small businesses. Foot traffic fell steeply during the coronavirus outbreak as customers prefer to stay home and self-quarantine. As the COVID-19 impact is deep and long-lasting, merchants in every industry try to retain customers during the lockdown. Some tips to keep your employees and customers engaged from a distance:
Communicate regularly with your customers
The situation is evolving ever rapidly, and no one is sure about the future. Customers empathize with the merchants who are facing a crisis, if you tell them this. Let the customers know if you’re shutting shop, changing your working hours and steps taken to retain your employees and work environment sanitized. If closing your store, notify all customers on social media channels, wither through emails and via your website. If your store is open, describe steps taken to mitigate risk. Beyond the logistics of your approach, enable customers to remain connected. Customers stuck at home will need to shop for essentials. Direct consumers to your e-commerce store, with orders over social media and prepare for more people to view your website.
Promote gift cards
Gift cards provide immediate cash infusion and guarantee that customers will return to your business later. At restaurants, with wafer-thin margins, gift cards help you stay afloat till the crisis abates. Offer an e-gift card program to reduce human contact risks, or work with third-party delivery partners like Uber Eats to take gift cards at your stores. Remember that most consumers miss the entertainment when quarantined at home.
Staying Connected Despite the Virus Outbreak
Stay connected and provide excellent services by ramping up social media presence to offer online deals to customers, keep in touch with customers and keep the sales alive during the pandemic. Schools are closed, offices want employees to work from home and small businesses that need foot traffic, see in-store sales hard-hit. As per experts, nearly 25 % of small business owners confirm slower sales (42%), supply chain disruptions (39%) and sick employees (4%). But in a digitally-connected world, remaining connected to customers to keep business operational, is easy. Smart practises for brick-and-mortar storefronts to keep their customers engaged even if they are self-quarantined or are avoiding public places.
Let customers know how you prevent COVID-19 from spreading
Send brief emails to your customers and post signages in your store to reassure them about what are doing to protect customer health when visiting your store. Share the enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene protocols in place, and how self-quarantine is enforced among employees experiencing even mild symptoms. If altering working hours or closing your store for deep cleaning operations, inform your customers too.
Increase social media presence
Your customers are on social media, but these days, are checking in more frequently for latest updates on the virus. Whether posting about the virus specifically or offering light, positive content to remove apprehensions about the panic, increasing your posting frequency ensures more frequent showing up in their news feeds. If operating service-based business like a restaurant or salon, you could offer online sales of gift certificates.