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Retailers across the country are keeping everything crossed for a seamless, smooth reopening.
As lockdown measures begin to ease and the prospect of lighter, longer spring days looms, there’s a sense of optimism in the air.
For stores preparing to welcome customers back and brands hoping to capitalise on the growing demand for new products, here are some tips to switch from surviving to thriving.
Provide customers with a choice
There will be customers who are counting down the days until shops open, but there will be many who will still be reluctant to leave the house. As a business owner, it pays to offer shoppers a choice.
Online sales have soared during the last 12 months and people aren’t suddenly going to stop shopping online or placing orders to collect.
When shops do open, it’s a great idea to offer your customers a choice. There will be many that are desperate to go into a physical store and enjoy the experience of looking at items and actually going to a till, but there will be many that would rather buy online.
Analyse figures and customer feedback and ask your customers about their shopping preferences.
Build consumer confidence
The past year has been incredibly challenging for businesses and customers and building strong relationships has never been more important. As a retailer looking to boost sales in the months and years post-lockdown, it’s crucial to ensure that your customers have confidence in you.
Make sure customers feel safe if they do choose to visit you and provide secure ways to shop online.
Data should be protected and websites should be safe havens for shoppers. Ensure that your staff understand the importance of data protection, invest in robust cybersecurity and look into GDPR training.
In store, follow the latest guidelines and take steps to communicate with customers so that they know what you are doing to keep them safe and they understand how they can help to minimise the spread of the virus when shopping.
Contact existing customers
Customer retention is key during difficult or turbulent times. Many businesses devote a lot of time, energy and money into trying to target new customers and expand their client base when trying to increase profits.
It can be beneficial to launch marketing campaigns and charm offensives to bring new shoppers in, but it’s critical not to lose sight of the importance of existing clients. Reach out to customers through personalised emails, website updates and news posts and social media.
Let loyal customers know what you’ve been up to and what plans you have to reopen and offer incentives to snap up special offers or come and visit.
High customer retention rates are beneficial in terms of lead conversion and bolstering your finances, but they also contribute to enhanced brand image and reputation.
If you have a large number of repeat customers, they will recommend your business and encourage others to visit shops or websites.
Tap into new trends
The world has changed a lot since March 2020 when the first lockdown was announced. While the pandemic has caused widespread disruption for retailers, it has also triggered change and caused new trends to emerge.
The demand for some products skyrocketed, online sales soared and people started shopping in a different way.
Adapting and adjusting enabled many retail businesses to survive and now they are in a position to capitalise on new trends and to move with the times to provide customers with the type of experience and products they’re looking for.
Keep an eye on the data, communicate with your customers, look for new trends, be innovative and imaginative and try to take advantage of opportunities.
Think about what people will be buying and spending their money on in the coming months as we look forward to life returning to something much closer to normal and consider how the crisis will continue to impact the retail sector as lockdown is lifted.
With a date set for non-essential retail to reopen, business owners across the land are keeping everything crossed for good news in April. Whether you run a single store or a giant chain, it’s wise to think about how you can generate sales, create leads and attract customers in the months to come.
Offering customers a choice of ordering and buying options, building consumer confidence, tapping into new trends and keeping in touch with loyal clients can all help to boost engagement and increase the chances of thriving post-lockdown.
Get in touch with your customers, let them know what you have in store for them and use social media, SEO and email marketing to spread the word and encourage shoppers to want to find out more.