As customers return to stores, many will avoid locations that do not take safety seriously. Others who have become used to the conveniences of self-service and other perks will continue to give their business to places with better experiences. As you reopen in a changed world, consider some of the following best practices:
- Communication is everything. How you communicate to your customers and to your employees will determine whether your audiences know about your safety procedures, your product offerings, and your new practices. Consider investments in tools that improve communication, such as digital signage, to ease the minds of people in your stores.
- Do the heavy lifting. Some customers may feel comfortable entering stores, while others may not. Provide options for both groups by incorporating services like curbside pickup and delivery. If delivery costs are unsustainable due to third-party fees, either bring the service in-house or focus your communications on bringing customers back into your physical stores.
- Build for the real world. Don’t stick stubbornly to your existing space just because it’s already there. Listen to customer needs and adjust as necessary. Build your aisles to facilitate one-way shopping lanes, reduce person-to-person contact, and use signage to make it easy for people to navigate the store.
- Consider curated experiences. People like to shop, but not everyone wants to shop close to other people. Think about out-of-the-box experiences, like shopping appointments for customers to come visit with salespeople who can help them make the right selections. Maintain occupancy limits so visitors feel more comfortable spending time in the store.
- Redesign and showcase cleaner spaces. Don’t let all your efforts to provide a safe environment go unnoticed. Make a show of your cleaning processes so customers see that the carts they use and the spaces where they walk are safe. Keep cleaning products and stations visible to associate your brand with cleanliness and care. You could even use signage to display cleaning process information throughout the day.
As retailers rethink their physical spaces, customers will remain selective about how and where they shop. Earn your share of the reopening of retail by creating spaces that make customers feel comfortable and prioritized.
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