Retailers may be open for business. If, however, they want to get customers back through their doors, they will need to convince them that it is safe for them to do so. Retailers, therefore, need to scrutinize their business processes to understand not just how they work, but how a customer would perceive them. Here are some points to consider.
Expect increased demand for parking
Public transport in the UK has never been a place for social distancing. Pre-COVID19, people generally gritted their teeth and dealt with it. Post-COVID19, however, the public is, understandably, more reluctant to be crammed into a confined space with complete strangers.
Your car parking area is your chance to make a great first impression
As the old saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. Even though you may already have established a bond with your regular customer base, they will very likely be reassessing that bond in the light of COVID19.
If your car-parking lacks organization and security (which, in many ways are the same), people are very likely to decide either to go without your services or to give your competitor a try.
Make the most of your entrance area
In retail, the entrance area has traditionally been the place where customers mentally transitioned from “out-and-about” mode to “shopping” mode. Now it’s the place to reassure customers that you’re in charge of the situation, at least within your own premises.
As a minimum, display information about the steps you have taken to protect your customers and staff. You can display copies of official documents such as certificates. Be aware, however, that these do not necessarily have very eye-catching designs.
It’s therefore preferable to create signage with real visual impact. Basically, you want to convey essential information literally at a glance, because that may be all you get.
Additionally, you want to provide hand sanitizer and you may want to consider offering masks and perhaps gloves as well. If not, then consider offering to provide them upon request.
Basically, you want to make it easy for customers to pop in even if, for whatever reason, they don’t have their mask with them, for example, they left it in the car. If you just let them walk away, they may not come back at all.
Have staff be especially vigilant about customers needing assistance
You will need to continue implementing your standard security precautions. In fact, you may want to increase them. Bluntly, if your staff take their eye off the security ball to deal with COVID19 issues, then there’s a distinct possibility that criminals will notice and take advantage of the fact.
Paying extra attention to customer service should, therefore, be seen as a supplement to your usual security rather than as a replacement for it. Your aim is essentially to keep your internal traffic flowing as smoothly (and safely) as possible so that customers have a pleasant and reassuring experience.
Hopefully, this will not only encourage them to come back but also to tell their friends that your store is a safe place to be.
This is a guest post by Newgate who specialise in secured access solutions such as security barriers and gates, bollards and road blockers, which are British designed and built.
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