The COVID-19 outbreak has left many brands at an impasse, as normal daily life as we know it has halted for the foreseeable future. It’s understandable to feel worried, nervous, and frustrated when so much seems out of your control. Here’s the good news though. There are some strategies that brands, particularly retailers and restaurants, can employ to make customers’ lives easier during a difficult and stressful time and simultaneously continue to operate and generate revenue. We’ve outlined a few of them below. We hope they provide some guidance.
Mobile and Digital Ordering
It’s important that we all do our part to follow social distancing measures to #flattenthecurve. While in-store operations and dining options are limited, many brands are leaning on mobile and digital ordering to heed mandates while still providing customers with their daily coffee or their favorite lunchtime burrito bowl.
Drive In-store Shoppers to Their First Ecommerce Purchase
There are still some shoppers out there who favor in-store as their purchase channel of choice. However, with more restrictions around travel, shopping and socializing, 21% of people have started shopping online more frequently, according to AgilityPR. Now is the time for retailers to motivate those brick-and-mortar customers to shop online or via mobile app. Incentivize digital first-timers with a personalized offer or discount for making an ecommerce purchase.
Combat a Dip in Frequency with a Larger Basket Size
With stricter measures in place preventing consumers from popping out to their usual dining and retail establishments multiple times a week, brands need to shift their focus toward motivating customers to buy more when they do make a purchase. Leverage specific offers and incentivizes, possibly based on geolocation, to help increase baskets.
Communicate with a Personalized Touch
It’s crucial to keep your customers up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to your brand. Be sure to send personalized outreach and campaigns that align with regional needs. For example: altered hours, precautions and availability at the specific locations where a customer shops.
Delay Point and Coupon Expiration
When customers can’t get to the physical store there are fewer opportunities for them to utilize loyalty points or coupons, many of which have finite expiration dates. Delaying these expiration dates is a small way to show your customers empathy and build goodwill long after normal life has resumed.
Extend Return Deadlines
It’s harder for people to leave the house these days to get to the post office or a UPS location to return things they’ve ordered online. Don’t let a stringent return policy deter your customers from shopping with you. Making policies a little more lenient, will not only encourage customers to continue to make online orders, but also engender positive feelings about your brand.
In a time filled with great uncertainty, one thing brands can control is the customer experience they deliver. We hope the strategies outlined in this post offer some support and inspiration as you continue to grow more loyal, profitable customers — in new ways — in the days ahead.