Today we’re going to cover three tips on how to market your retail store in the era of social distancing.
1: Make sure that you’re communicating with your customers.
One of the most important things you can do is let them know that you are planning on surviving this time and you are going to open your doors again. You’ve got to make sure that they know what your hours are. If you are still able to be open, maybe you’ve had to restrict your hours or maybe you’ve restricted your staff a little bit, so you’ve still got to make sure that you communicate that to them. There are other businesses that are totally closing their doors or people that are just stopping for the time period. Maybe that’s you. That’s okay. You’ve just got to make sure that you’re communicating this to your customers.
They want to hear from you. They want to know where you’re at with this. They want to know that you’re going through the same thing and that you’re taking precautions to keep your staff safe and to keep them safe. So make sure you’re communicating across all mediums you’ve got because it’s incredibly important. Once your doors are open again, then they can come back and be your customers. They just need to know that you’re planning on doing that.
2: You’ve got to get online.
A lot of retail stores are realizing that they can’t rely on foot traffic anymore. They’ve got to get online, they’ve got to get that eCommerce site set up and you’ve got to start selling via the internet. It’s not the world’s easiest thing to do. You’ve got to have the website. It’s great if you have your point of sale system connected with your inventory so that you’re not selling things that you don’t actually have, you don’t have to manually update those things. So it’s really hard. It’s really difficult. It takes a lot of time, but time is really all we’ve got right now, so now’s a perfect time to make sure that you’re doing that.
Communicate with all of your vendors, have them send you product photos and product images so you can get started on that. If you need to find a new point of sales system, you’ve got to hunt that down to make sure that it’s going to connect with your website. Great websites to look at would be websites 360, WooCommerce, Woo 360, Shopify. These are all incredible platforms that connect with a lot of point of sale systems, so that’s another thing you can look at. You’ve got to just make sure that you are online as soon as possible because that’s really what’s going to keep you around during this time. You can’t always rely on foot traffic. Sometimes it’s a pandemic. Other times it’s a snowstorm, but if you’re online then you’ve got a 24-hour salesman who’s selling your product all the time.
A lot of small businesses have relied on older ways of selling their product for a long time and that’s okay, but when we start to come across challenges like we’re experiencing right now, you really start to realize that it’s not going to work that much longer. And we’ve got a lot of time on our hands, so now is the perfect time to make sure that you are getting online so you can sell online.
Now I’ve got a pro tip for you here. If you’re closed or if you’ve got reduced hours, so you’ve got extra time on your hands or you’ve got staff that doesn’t really have a lot of things to do at this moment, now is a perfect time to start to task them or task yourself to start doing these other things that are going to take a lot of time that will help you get online faster. One of these is product descriptions. Product descriptions are tough because you can’t just steal them offline and your vendors are not going to send them to you. You’ve got to come up with these yourself. So if you’ve got a staff member that is really, really knowledgeable about a lot of products, have them start writing product descriptions. You’re getting product images, your vendors are sending you those and then as you get that and you start to bring your products online, you can make sure you’ve got your product descriptions as well. It’s incredibly important and can save you a lot of time.
Another thing that you can do, again, if you’ve got staff members that are really knowledgeable about what you’re selling or the services that you offer, you can have them start to write content, write blogs and things like that, that will help your website rank organically. Everybody is online now. All we’re doing is spending time online. So you’ve got to get online and make sure your content is there. Now is a great time to keep your team employed, keep them busy and utilize the skills that they have to make sure that your website is ranking high.
3: Be social.
Right now everybody’s online. That’s all we’re doing. That’s all everyone has time to do at this moment. So get online and get social. If you’ve been ignoring your social channels, now’s the time to kick them back up. If you’re pretty good at communicating, but you realize that you’ve kind of slacked off a little bit as things have been dying down, ramp up that communication. This is a great time for you to connect with your customers in an environment that’s not really salesy. You’re not always selling, you’re just communicating that you’re here, you’re here for them, you’re here to help them. You’re here to help them shop with you online. You’re here to support the local economy and you’re here to engage with them.
So social is an incredible way to do that. And if you’ve found that you’re just really not communicating as much as you wanted to or as much as you have in the past, you’ve got to ramp it back up. There’s a lot of people that are saying a lot of studies that are showing that customers, they’re not finding you. They’re not driving by, they’re not seeing the lights on. They don’t see your sign, we’ll be back in three weeks, we’ll be back whenever. They’re looking for you online. And if you’re not there, you’re not showing up, you’re not in their social feeds, you start to lose that top of mind awareness that you worked so hard to get. So, you’ve got to be social.
Another aspect of this is to share content from some of the other folks in your area. If you’ve got business owners that you’re friendly with or you’ve got people in your shopping center or anything like that that you connect with and you know these folks, make sure you’re sharing their content also. Now, small business owners, we’re all in this together, so the more that we can share content from our neighbors, the more we can share content from other small businesses in the area, we all grow together. This is a hard time for a lot of retail stores. It’s a hard time for small businesses, so we’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to make sure that we get through this as one team.