The majority of the U.S. has not been able to visit favorite retail stores in over two months. Some of your customers might be itching to get out and shop regardless of COVID-19 concerns, while others are hesitant to get out and be around others.
Retailers will experience a time like we have never seen before. Some customers refuse to wear masks, while others will not enter a store without one. Some customers will rush back into retail stores, while others are not ready to be surrounded by others. These are unchartered waters for everyone. So, how do we please our customers?
The key is to ensure customers have a safe, enjoyable, shopping experience. Here are some things to consider:
The Customer Is Always Right
Perhaps the most challenging thing for retailers is understanding what the customer wants. You might believe wearing masks is unnecessary or that limiting store capacity is silly. Although it is true that experts still cannot entirely say how the virus is spread, one thing remains true: your customers want to ensure that, if they are out and about, they are safe.
Each state has their own guidelines, but the CDC recommends wearing facemasks and following social distancing guidelines. It is a good idea to follow all CDC guidelines and to check what your local government requires for store openings. For instance, some areas in Florida require everyone in a public space to wear face masks while keeping 6 feet apart.
If you want to go the extra mile to keep your customers happy, get on your social media channel or send out a questionnaire asking your customers what safety measures would make them feel comfortable when they enter shops. Would they like to see surfaces be wiped down? Would open doors and windows make them feel safe? Hand sanitizer? It might seem like a lot of extra work, but if you want good business, you must ensure your customers are happy and comfortable.
Use A Barrier
Many large retailers such as Target, Home Depot, and most grocery stores, have installed plexiglass at the checkout line. Plexiglass helps to reduce contact. Not only will it help to keep your customers safe, but your staff too.
We know what you’re thinking…get rid of checkouts?
By “remove checkouts”, we mean do away with a face-to-face checkout. By doing so, you will reduce contact between customers. An object with the most bacteria on it is the credit card machine. This machine requires customers to swipe their cards and press buttons to enter their pin or sign a signature. There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to eliminate the checkout process.
Walmart, for instance, allows customers to checkout via Walmart pay on the Walmart app. All you have to do is scan the item with your phone and then you are presented with a checkout screen that initiates a card payment.
Consider Pickup Services
While some customers will return to your store without thinking twice, others are hesitant to leave their homes and be around others. However, they still might want to shop at your store. Many retailers are offering curbside pickup or in-store pickup. Customers order an item online or via phone and can even checkout via phone or online. Then, once the customer is there, all they have to do is call the number to let you know they are outside, and an employee delivers the item to the vehicle!
Limit Contact With Merchandise
It is said that the COVID-19 virus can live on plastic and stainless steel for 3 days, 24 hours on cardboard, and most likely, on clothing and other merchandise.
If you offer shopping carts or bags, customers will be hesitant to use them unless they know that they have been disinfected. Customers will also be hesitant to pick up certain items.
Some retailers, such as Target, have chosen to shut down fitting rooms in an effort to limit contact with merchandise. If you are keeping fitting rooms open, consider holding onto items for an extended period of time before setting them back on the shelves.
Offer Sanitary Products Upon Entry and Exit
Offering hand sanitizer or rubber gloves at the entrance of your store might help customers feel more comfortable. Maybe they usually carry sanitizer on them but forgot to bring it in the store. Offering hand sanitizer is a considerate gesture and will be appreciated by customers.
Don’t Forget About Your Employees
It is important to consider customer safety, and customers want to see that their favorite brands are taking care of their employees. Customers make their own assumptions based on how brands treat others, including their own staff. Going the extra mile to ensure your team is taken care of, speaks high volumes about your business and will help to build brand loyalty.
Consider Allowing Customers To Shop By Appointment
Some stores are open for regular business hours, but only let customers in by appointment. This is a way to ensure the store is not crowded and you have time to properly sanitize the store between store visits. If shopping only by appointment is not something you are interested in, maybe set aside designated hours where customers can shop by an appointment. This way, you’re considering those customers who might not be ready to be surrounded by others.
Jordan Alliance Group: Bringing Your Business Back Up To Speed
There is no doubt that these times are tough, and we are all experiencing unchartered waters, but we are all in this together. You might be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the next steps to take. If you could use some guidance on how to get your business back up to speed after being closed for a while, our team at The Jordan Alliance Group is ready to help.
Our team has the resources you need to finish the year out strong!
Schedule your free consultation with The Jordan Alliance Group today!