Come to think of it; every state but a handful in America has opened its doors to business. It’s welcome news that any businessman would rejoice in, and perhaps jump for joy. But it’s not as perfect as what you may have in mind.
First up, you still have to contend with a virus that has evolved into something more sinister. COVID-19 cases are once again haunting America, rising to thousands per day. As a result, some people fear it’s 2020 once again. Just recently, reminiscent of spring last year, some Americans have been panic-buying toilet paper again causing empty shelves in groceries.
Second of all, know that an open-to-business economy does not mean your business is going to thrive. The first order of the day should you want to reopen your store is to ensure you have plans in place to win your customers back in-store.
It’s possible but the effort may not be a walk in the park. Though people would love to go outdoors these days after all those months of being told to lie low and stay indoors, the phobia of getting the virus could stop them cold in their footsteps. In this regard, you may have to do a little convincing to fill your store with needed foot traffic.
Lucky for you, you may not have to rack your brain to find a good strategy to win back customers to purchase in-store. Top business experts in the land have given their take on the matter, giving you strategies that count. Here’s how you can get started:
Ready Your Plans and Contingencies
Well, you can’t expect reopening to be like throwing a stone in a wishing well. Indeed, it’s the worst time not to be prepared. If you think you can just casually reopen your store as you did before the pandemic, then you’d be in for one unpleasant surprise.
The best way for you to go about this is to establish plans and other contingencies should any situation arise. If not, you would find it a tall order to win back your customers consistently, given the virus situation.
Here are some questions you may have to look into:
- How are you to implement CDC guidelines (e.g., social distancing) when serving customers?
- How about the different protocols set by your local and state government?
- What’s your plan if a customer or a worker inside your establishment gets the virus?
- How about masks? How will you deal with customers who won’t stick to wearing one?
- How will your customers know your establishment guidelines?
This is basically scenario planning. But you get the point: unless you have a plan to deal with all possible scenarios, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you reopen.
Communicate Reopening Clearly
With all the complexity that goes with the reopening, it’s easy for you to be overwhelmed. As a result, you could fall short in your preparations.
A good way to remedy this is to talk to outside experts. For one, sales and marketing coaching could go a long way in drafting your growth strategy to reopen properly. Armed with a long track record of success, these experts could show you out-of-the-box solutions to sticky scenarios, thereby boosting your bottom line.
Once you’ve ironed out your plans, then it’s time you announce your reopening to the world, and not a minute prior. Indicate vital information such as your opening hours and essential policies in place to ensure your customers are safe.
Blast the info in your social media, your website, and other online platforms. For instance, you should make sure you’re officially listed in Google Maps, Foursquare, and Yelp. Above all, convey the message on your brick-and-mortar store that you’re ready for business.
Indeed, you should be ready to be as flexible as can be. It’s possible your plans could fall short. As changeable as the virus situation is, your customers may not be able to respond to your plans well. Being mindful of the needs of your customers as you go along should be wise.
You may stick to a pick-up-only option for your goods but if calls are mounting for door deliveries, you may need to reevaluate your plan.
Use the Right Technology
Everything is in the transition phase right now. So it’s paramount you use spot-on technologies to keep everyone safe. For instance, if you’re a restaurant, you may have to use online tools to let your customers book a table before coming in. This helps you control the number of people inside.
Set the Tone
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. For instance, there’s a lot of back-and-forth about mask mandates right now. People coming into your store could be mask-averse. And they can be loud about it.
Before you risk going into an extended debate, seek to understand your customer. Help him. However, let him know that you have protocols in place for everyone’s safety. In the end, if you show you really care, he’ll understand he may have to follow. The important thing is your approach. As long as you have the welfare of the public in mind, your business should be good to go.