Businesses across the country are slowly beginning to open their doors to in-store shoppers after months of being closed. While these milestones are far from the celebratory grand openings many are used to, similar marketing efforts will be necessary to ensure your community has the most up-to-date information on the logistics of your business’s opening, from the latest offerings to precautionary measures they should expect to take when they arrive.
While the process is slightly staggered by state and the precautionary measures vary, the goal of many small business owners at this time remains the same — to cut through the noise, let customers know they’re open for business and prepare them for their new shopping experience. The reality of the situation is that most Americans will make a slow reentry into the community, making it business-critical to continue communicating contactless options like delivery and curbside pickup while creatively and strategically rolling out new operations in accordance with CDC guidelines.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few key action items to check off your list before your grand reopening.
Updating your digital presence is a top priority in the reopening process. Think about it — most consumers in 2020 head straight to the apps on their phones or laptops for the most accurate information on store hours, policies and product availability, from Google Maps to social media. So carve out the time to create custom content for your social media accounts and a dedicated landing page for your website so that accurate information about your business is only a click away and clearly visible (or linked to) on your home pages. Sit down with an HR expert at your organization to unpack some of those frequently asked questions and voice them on your website. Your customers will thank you, and your customer service representatives will have a place to direct consumers with questions.
On Instagram business accounts, take advantage of the “Link in bio” and “Swipe up” features to make sure you’re highlighting those landing pages with FAQs. Lastly, and arguably the most important step in the digital upgrade process, make sure that your “Google My Business” listing has accurate information for each location. Many consumers will opt for a quick Google search over scouring through social media for the information.
To break through the noise and thank customers for their loyalty, enhance your grand opening with an in-store offer that can be displayed across the many marketing vehicles you’ll use to let customers know you’re open for business. Take advantage of A-frame signs, in-store banners, window posters and other print materials that can be made visible to those passing by. Keep this creative consistent with what’s used on your social media and craft a thoughtful email to your customer list with any operational updates that they and your staff will need to follow moving forward, like new cleaning protocols and social distancing measures.
Lastly, go out of your way ease the mind of you customer base by creating a video that walks through step-by-step the new ordering process at your store. This can help to ease any stress and confusion before your customers even make the trip. Looking for examples? See here for an example of how French-inspired café Mornings in Paris used their creativity to help shoppers adapt to their curbside pickup service.
It’s likely that the amount of operational changes that have occurred in the past few months have been overwhelming for your and for your staff to keep up with. If you’re not exactly a photoshop pro, share these updated protocols in your signage by leveraging professionally designed templated signs. Take advantage of these to communicate safety measures in store, i.e. capacity/hours of operations, face coverings/social distancing and CDC mandates.
To protect the safety of customers and employees, many businesses have had to pivot their shipping operations and extend or alter their return policies. Posting signage in store that clearly states your most recent return policy is another form of signage that your customers and your customer service representatives will thank you for. The more transparent and communicative you are about your changes in policy, the more seamless your shopper’s experience will be.
The past few months have been difficult but have also given small businesses time to re-evaluate and optimize some of their processes. Cost-cutting measures have forced organizations across the country to revisit the why, and “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way” is no longer a valid argument. If your loyalty program has been non-existent to date or needs a serious revamp, now is a great time to make the shift. Take this period before reopening to do your research on loyalty programs in your industry that have been successful (and not so successful) and implement what you see fit.
The same thing goes for your digital and printed promotions. This period of time has simply changed the way that organizations approach marketing. Use this as an opportunity to reshape your targeted efforts and consider encouraging prospective customers to take advantage of free trials for products and services you’re confident that they will learn to love.
Whether your business has been partially open or completely closed during this uncertain time, it’s likely your employees have been patient and cooperative during every operational shift you’ve had to make. And the same goes for your customers, who have been engaging with your brand online through social media, email and maybe even making purchases through your eCommerce platforms or curbside pickup offering. Now is the time to let all of these folks know that you see them and that you appreciate their loyalty more than they will know.
Schedule appreciation outings for each team, from social distancing picnics to something fun you’ve always done as a group. Pull together “welcome back” gifts for everyone who enters your business on reopening day. Leave “thank you” cards inside every purchase with a special promotional offer included to show you care. Shout out your love for associates and employees on social media and send “surprise and delight” gifts to those who show appreciation with no expectation of return. Everyone should understand that this isn’t the time to go crazy with spending, but each small token of appreciation goes a long way to feel valued.
We wish you the best of luck and are here for you as you enter a new chapter in your business.
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