With the pandemic, consumer’s expectations around shopping have changed. It is more important than ever to engage with your customers and make them feel comfortable. This holiday season, the number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise, and it is more important than ever to offer multiple ways for your customers to shop with you.
Not only do you need to offer many of these multiple ways to shop, but you must communicate it to your customers. Consider putting up a banner in front of your store or your window telling your customers all of the ways they can shop with you. Put this same information in all your emails, on your website, include it on your social media sites, newspaper ads, and more.
Here are 6 ways many independent retailers are offering their customers to shop with them this holiday season.
BOPIS – Buy Online Pick Up in Store
Customers may want to make their purchases online and then come to the store and pick them up. The customer coming to your store allows you to offer other services to them, like gift wrapping, etc. Offering special services to your customers will set you apart from other online retailers. Customers may want to pick these items up curbside, or they may come inside to get them from a designated area. If your customers are coming inside, make sure that you have told them exactly where to get their items. Make this as easy as possible for them. Also, make sure that you have a display of easy add on and pick up items in that area. Empower your associates to suggest add-on items based on what the shopper is picking up.
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Curbside pickup is here to stay. Many big-box grocery stores were offering curbside pickup before the virus, and consumers around the country were discovering its convenience. Now, with the virus, many retailers and restaurants have added this service. With the number of new cases of the coronavirus on the rise, most businesses that started offering Curbside Pickup intend to keep it. Again, make sure that you have a system in place to make this easy and convenient for your customers.
Delivery or In-Home Service
People may be wary of being in crowds of strangers, but they still want their favorite products from their favorite shops. Many retailers and small restaurants added in their own delivery services during the shutdowns. While the health scare of COVID-19 has spurred on the adoption of these new services to small retail stores, I believe that consumers will become accustomed to the convenience and want businesses to continue them. You may have a service that you can take to your customers.
Clothing boutiques can offer a “Closet Makeover” by going to a customer’s home and going through their closet and then suggesting items that they need that you happen to sell. You can then help them shop on your website from home, or you can bring those items over on another visit. Be creative; a kitchen store can offer a “Kitchen Makeover” by going in and helping a customer determine their needs based on their lifestyle.
This covers a wide range of sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and more. You will never be proficient in all of the social media sites available, so I suggest you master just one of them before moving on to another.
Most retail stores start with Facebook, but if Instagram is your jam, you should start there. Selling on these sites is a must these days. Many of you have probably begun selling via Facebook Live Events, and if you haven’t, you need to start. This is a great way to engage with your customers while they are not physically in your store. They can still experience the store and have fun shopping with you.
Many more consumers will shop online only this holiday season. If you need help showing up online to those customers, you should look into working with Crystal Media. They have been teaching social media to small business owners for 13 years. Stop winging it when it comes to your social media. Click Here to learn how to create a clear plan and path to successful results through social media.
Now more than ever, you need to leverage tools like Facebook Groups, Live Streaming, and Facebook Ads and create an actual plan for your store to measure your success.
Having a good e-commerce presence is more critical this year than ever. Your customers will want to support you, but they may not feel comfortable coming into your store. With only weeks left until Christmas, now is not the time to try to make your website perfect, but you need to have a place where your customers can go to buy from you.
If you do not have an e-commerce site yet, it is not too late. You still have time to get something up and running. Do not let perfection get in your way. Keep moving forward and get some of your best sellers online so your customers can support your business this holiday season.
Private appointments and more
All kinds of retailers are offering private appointments for shopping. This could be for an entire family or friend group. It could be a charity or club holding an after-hours fundraiser event where you sell tickets to be able to control the crowd.
Many retailers are offering private shopping times through Facetime or Zoom. First, you must determine what hours your store will be open to the public and determine what hours that leaves for you to offer private in-store shopping events. Depending on how many employees you have, you may not be able to have many private events, so make sure that the ones you book are good. I suggest you have a fee to hold the reservation. Then that money can go towards their purchases at the event. This way, they will be sure to show up.
Next week’s blog will be all about ways you can use a Wish List to create more sales this holiday season. Be sure to download our Wish List form and the Event Planning & Recap forms if you have not done so already.