Things are anything but usual right now, and retail stores have undeniably been hit hard by the reduction of in-person business. The ability to adapt will separate retail stores that stay open from the ones that close their doors.
9 Things Retail Stores Can do to Adapt to the New World
#1. Think outside the box.
Imagine running your retail store in a world where you must do business without human interaction. It’s not business as usual, and therefore, the usual thinking doesn’t apply.
In order to be successful in the new world, you must be able to build relationships, have exceptional customer experience, acquire customers, etc. Think about it — how would you operate? This will force you to think outside the box and prepare for the future.
#2. Have the right website.
Depending on where you live, people may or may not be able to shop with you in person, and even if restrictions have been lifted, more people are still home. But, with the right ecommerce store, you can meet your customers where they’re at and keep making sales.
You need to have an elite ecommerce store that matches your brand. Your new storefront will be in the digital world! People still want to shop and buy local, so make sure your store is a great shopping experience!
Make sure that you use plenty of great pictures and videos, that your site is easy to navigate, and that you provide your visitors with good content that matches your brand voice. Online chat can be beneficial as well, as it helps you provide your customers with a faster, more convenient way to connect with you.
Not all online purchases have to be shipped. Offering curbside pick-up for online purchases
#3. Build out your CRM database.
Building connections with customers and people in your community is just as important to the success of your business online as it is in person. The best way to go about doing this starts with collecting as much information on your customers as you possibly can.
The more information you gather about your customers, the more you’ll understand them. You need to know when their birthday is, who their family members are, what they like, what they’ve bought, how much they’ve spent, what social media platforms they are using, and more.
That’s a lot of information to keep track of, but luckily, the right CRM database can make it easier and will ensure that you have access to the information you need.
#4. Build relationships with your customers.
Gathering information about your customers is all about building relationships with them. But, before you can build that relationship, you have to connect with them online.
Connect with them on social media. Follow them. Like and comment on their posts. Send them direct messages. Send them special deals, ideas on things they like, etc.
With social media, the customer relationship now extends beyond the in-store experience to the digital world. This is an opportunity to build even stronger customer loyalty and expand your average lifetime customer value. Plus, it gives you the chance to tap into their friend networks on social media and expand your customer base.
#5. Connect with your community on social media.
Beyond building relationships with your customers, you can use your social media strategy to connect with new customers in your community and build your brand in your local area. Start by following friends of your customers, as well as non-profits, sports/schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and everyone in your radius of impact.
You should also go to the recent posts in your city, and like all posts from users who seem like they’d fit your demographic. Even better, leave a comment and/or send them a coupon to support a local store via direct message.
The point of social media is to be seen and to be liked! Don’t get too salesy in your posts or content. Be authentic, and show off your personality.
#6. Leverage email and SMS marketing.
Getting a customer in the door is big, but it’s just the first step. Merely establishing a connection with your customers online isn’t enough; you want to build up that connection so that it’s strong and impenetrable.
You often don’t have time to craft custom happy birthday messages to your customers or identify which individual offers will fit the needs of your individual customers. It would take all day. Luckily, automated nurture campaigns make all of this possible and more.
Email and SMS marketing are two powerful tools for nurturing your customers. Through automated SMS and email marketing, you can build journeys for groups of customers based on different interests, recent purchases, physical location, etc.
Nurturing your customers helps you increase the lifetime average value of your customers. It’s all about driving up your ROI (return on investment) by sending coupons and gifts to loyal customers to keep them coming back.
#7. Ask for reviews!
When people can’t see a product in person, or touch and feel it, it takes somewhat of a leap of faith to make a purchase, especially if they’ve never shopped with you before and have no prior indication of the quality of your products.
Reviews are what bridge the gap and encourage people to take that leap and make a purchase. And, since people don’t always write them on their own, you should make it a point to follow up after every purchase with a request for a review.
Dominating reviews and ratings will ensure that you are the top-rated store in your category in your area, and it will turn more of your shoppers into customers.
#8. Invest in multi-channel advertising.
You can’t control where your customers look or where they spend their time, but you can ensure that you’re there when they’re looking. This is why multi-channel advertising is such a key part of success and visibility online — and offline for that matter.
Multi-channel advertising is about being wherever people in your community are spending, which may include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, digital radio, etc.
Advertising isn’t free, and you may not have the budget to advertise everywhere. That’s OK. You don’t need to advertise everywhere; you just need to be where your customers are. When choosing your advertising channels, start by thinking about where your customers are most likely to be.
#9. Build your brand!
Your brand is key. It’s part of what sets your products apart from your competition. Do not rely on Amazon. You must build your own brand to succeed in the long-term and increase your valuation.
Whether you need help coming up with ideas on how to adapt your retail store to the new world or you’re looking for help building a website or marketing your business online, Marketing 360® is here to help.