• Jason Fordham

Reopen, With a Great Customer Experience, Safely

Retail has felt a deep impact from the coronavirus pandemic. However, as stay-at-home orders are lifted, brick-and-mortar retailers have the opportunity to reopen and restart their businesses. Unfortunately, with social distancing, occupancy limits and other safety guidelines in effect, winning customers back and being compliant with local regulation can be overwhelming. Don't worry, here are five easy easy approaches to reopen safely:

  • Display Local Inventory, Online - Initially shoppers won’t be shopping for fun as much as for necessity. Shoppers will be prioritizing quick trips, in and out as efficiently as possible. Make it easy for your shoppers to find high demand products and give them confidence that what they need is available before they arrive. Even better, offering online reservations to hold products for in-store try-on or engagement is highly effective in bringing shoppers back to your store for more than curbside pick-up. Fortunately, most e-commerce platforms are or easily integrate into POS and inventory management platforms via pre-built apps. If not, contact us, and we can help.

  • Allow Shoppers to Make Appointments - As states reopen with capacity limits and social distancing requirements, providing an option to schedule specific time in a store not only delivers peace of mind to customers, but allows you to manage traffic flow without lines building outside. A simple appointment book and a phone number are enough to do the trick, but if you want to entice digital traffic to visit the store, implementing appointment scheduling on product pages or in the cart of your website is ideal.

  • Help Shoppers Find All of Their Items Independently - Associates are the experts at helping customers discover exactly what they need; unfortunately, social distancing creates a challenge and introduces concern in interacting with others. Provide shoppers with the tools to find items in your store and get the detail they need about those items without interacting with associates. More descriptive signage and a simplified merchandising strategy can greatly improve the in-store experience. Interactive displays or a mobile shopping application, often available as part of e-commerce solutions, can be great ways to deliver expert help while operating during social distancing.

  • In-Store Contactless Delivery - Associates will still be required in-stores, and their safety is equally critical to customers'. Their role, for the foreseeable future, is in contactless fulfillment. Whether to a fitting room with requested product, from the back room, or simply fulfilling a BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) order, associates need to help customers maintain social distancing and provide the products needed. This may be simplified with a solution that allows associates to manage and directly respond to shopper requests without or before a face-to-face interaction.

  • Contactless Checkout - Keeping both shoppers and associates safe is the number one goal when reopening. This does not have to come at the expense of sales, however. Providing a frictionless/self-checkout capability, especially one that supports mobile payment, is a great way to complete transactions and do it safely. Again, many e-commerce packages provide POS hardware with their solutions, or there are many great mobile payment providers offering their solution at deep discounts during COVID.

You can provide a safe, socially distanced store and deliver a great customer experience, with a few changes and the right tools. If you need help implementing any of these processes contact us forPerfit's free COVID Recovery solution.