Action Step 5

Reidentify customer communication & connectivity.

Consumers have heightened expectations due to COVID-19 and their concerns need to be retailer concerns. Strengthening customer communication can help ease some of the worries customers have when it comes to engaging in stores, purchasing products, exchanging payments, receiving packages, interacting with store employees and more. The path to purchase, after all, is simply not what it used to be and thus, retailer’s need to proactively communicate with their customers in order to gain trust from their customers. Among the ways to do this include:

  • Increase communication across digital avenues to connect with consumers 24/7
    • Social Media
    • Email Marketing
    • Online Review Sites
    • E-Commerce Site
    • Marketplaces
  • Strengthen in-store signage with clear and concise details about updated store policies
    • Repeat signage in multiple spots in order to increase customer connectivity
    • Provide signage both in-store and via storefront windows / door as necessary
    • Create signage specific to COVID-19 that stands out from regular signage
  • Incorporate a local press strategy to reach consumers about how you are re-opening and re-connecting with customers amidst COVID-19
  • Share press release with local media by contacting them via social media or email
    • Offer insight on store best practices due to COVID-19 and encourage local media to support local businesses via press
    • Reach out to radio, television, newspapers, publications, bloggers and local organizations to increase chance of more visibility

Leveraging these multiple destinations to communicate with customers provides retailers the chance to offer clear and concise details on everything they need to know amidst and post the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Social distancing guidelines
  • In-store customer spacing and flow directions
  • In-store occupancy limitations
  • BOPIS, curb-side pick-up and delivery details
  • Limitations in inventory
  • Health & safety expectations
  • Local mandates including masks having to be worn
  • Updated store hours
  • Updated return policy

Quotation SkuIQ

During the early phase of openings it will be critical to demystify the experience for customers,whether it’s for curbside pick-ups or buy-online and pick-up in store. Brands will need strategies to be effective in explaining what one can expect is critical in easing anxiety and putting customers in the right mindset. They need to find ways to proactively communicate when a product is ready for pick-up, how to return items and what is available in-store. Queue management will be crucial – it can be the differentiator that determines whether or not a customer wants to come back. Don’t lean into safety at the sacrifice of brand, be sure to layer on your ‘voice’ when creating your messaging plan. Openings need to be safe but they also need tobe human. Shopping is an emotional experience, customers will gravitate to brands that deliver that.

-Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of The Lionesque Group and Principal at MG2

Quotation SkuIQ
Action Step

How have you actively communicated with your customers throughout COVID-19? Evaluatewhat your strategies – or lack of – have been, then proactively create a calendar specific to customer communicate to help keep you on track with connecting to your audience. Using emailmarketing, social media, in-store communication and your own website, identify what you wantto tell them, when you will tell them and ways to make your voice stand out among the busystreets of retail, so to speak. These proactive actions will help ensure you don’t lose sight of yourcustomers who must remain a priority during every step you take towards strengthening yourretail business