As the entire world deals with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and the business world have also faced multiple challenges. Most businesses have either been shut down or operating at limited capacity for the last few months. Unfortunately, many small business owners have to shut their doors for good or make redundancies to cope with their losses.
For all the merchants slowly preparing to reopen as the retail lockdown ends, facing the ‘new reality’ may be somewhat daunting. However, most owners are understandably eager to resume their services again and start serving customers.
We slowly start to understand what a post-pandemic world will look like. To help you get off to a safe and successful start in that world, we’ve created an easy-to-follow marketing checklist for a physical store.
Use this as a guide to create a COVID-sensitive marketing strategy for your reopening.
1. Set the official reopening date
The very first step is determining a date for your reopening.
Consult with the government’s official guidance to decide what the exact date should be. Once you’ve got this in mind, you can start planning how you’re going to let customers know.
2. Communicating your reopening
Creating a communications plan for your customers is easy if you know your customers well. Spend some time researching your target audience and learn more about their media consumption habits, both online and offline. This will heavily affect your marketing plan.
For instance, if your customers spend a lot of time on social media, focus on communicating your reopening on Instagram and combining that with a paid Facebook campaign to target new customers.
If you’re running a small business that’s mostly frequented by locals, you may also want to put up outdoor signs in prime locations within your neighbourhood.
Make sure you inform your existing customers directly, using your own social media channels and email database to send out communications. These should detail all the safety measures you’ll be taking, opening hours, and the opening date.
If you want to know what data can help you better understand your customers, to prepare for this step of your reopening, read this article. And if you need a little help to figure out how to keep informed about your customer preferences going forward, head to this article instead.
3. Implement and communicate safety measures for your reopening
Wondering what safety measures to put in place to create a safe environment for customers and employees? Below are some of the main options that are easier to implement and don’t cost too much:
- Got an online store as well as a physical one? We’d recommend continuing to market that there are online delivery options available. The lockdown has led to a huge increase in online shopping, and many customers may feel more comfortable continuing to use online stores only for a while longer.
- Offer Click and Collect purchases for those customers who may want to browse and buy online and use your physical location to make a quick pickup.
- Avoid crowds in your store by implementing a limit for the number of customers allowed in the store at any one time. And create socially distanced queues outside if needed.
- Offer a service-based business? Create a booking service that’s easy to use to space out appointments and ensure that you don’t have too many customers at the same time.
- Offer customers contactless payment options to protect them and your staff from handling physical cash.
Don't underestimate the importance of informing your customers about all the COVID safety measures you'll be putting in place as part of your future marketing. Many of your customers are feeling slightly apprehensive about the lockdown being lifted. Most people are keen to maintain social distancing to protect themselves and their vulnerable family members.
At an uncertain time like this, you'll want to openly communicate all you're doing to keep both your employees and your customers safe as you reopen your store.
Respond quickly to any questions that customers may have on this and make sure that all measures are clearly listed on your website and social media channels.
Taking time to reflect this in your reopening marketing will give both new and existing customers a little more confidence in you as a responsible business. As a result, they're more likely to frequent your physical store.
4. Prepare your location for customers
Finally, it's time to get your store ready for the reopening!
The first step for this is a deep clean to sanitise the store and all surfaces. You may also want to consider installing some physical shields between your staff and customers at checkout to reduce contact.
Provide all your employees with masks and create markings on the floor that help customers remain at a safe distance from each other.
Next, update your website and social media channels with all the measures you've taken so that your marketing reflects all the hard physical preparations you've made. Send out an email communication around this to keep customers in the loop.
5. Add a little "OMG!" factor to your marketing strategy
Want to add a little more punch to your reopening marketing strategy? Then consider tapping into tools that we have developed for you.
Don't worry; these OMG tools are free, require no new hardware or staff training, and complement your hard work of taking the business back to its normal flow.
At OMG, we created ways to help merchants and business owners connect and engage with their customers. Here are some of the things we can do to make your life better:
- You can get new customers who buy more and do it more often.
- You can increase your revenue by bringing your average order value by up to 20%.
- You will save more money on marketing, up to £10,000 a year by taking advantage of our channels.
- You will make smarter decisions by understanding your customers better with customer data we can provide for you.
If you'd like some expert advice on a marketing strategy for your location-based business, we'd be more than happy to help.
Once you sign up, we will reach out to help you get the most of OMG!