As companies, schools and workplaces begin to re-open after lockdown, business owners are eager to reinstate their cash flow. After months of trading suspensions and reduced profits, businesses are relying on increasing sales throughout Autumn and Winter to help them re-establish their place in the market.
However, the lifting of lockdown restrictions won’t necessarily mean that things go back to normal. Many people are understandably worried about reverting their normal routines while the threat of COVID-19 remains. In addition to this, people have adopted new ways of shopping during lockdown, which means businesses may need to entice them back from competitors.
If you’re keen to reignite your business after lockdown, it’s essential to reassure your customers that it’s safe to visit you and engage with your brand. For inspiration, take a look at these top ways you can reassure people and encourage them to visit your premises:
1. Implement social distance measures
All businesses are required to facilitate social distancing, but some firms appear to be better at it than others. Both your customers and employees should adhere to social distance guidelines, so do everything you can to encourage them. Printed posters, point of sale displays and even window displays are a great way to remind people to keep a safe distance from one another.
Visual reminders don’t just encourage existing customers to practice social distance, they reassure potential customers that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. People will be far more likely to shop in places where social distancing can be observed, so take the opportunity to enhance your in-store safety protocols.
2. Communicate with your target audience
Telling your target market how your business has changed over the past few months is an effective way to maintain engagement. If you’ve introduced new service methods in response to lockdown restrictions, for example, keep your target demographic up to date. Conversely, if you’ve had to temporarily suspend some services, let your customer base know.
You may already have contact data and consent for existing customers, in which case you can get in touch with them via personalised emails or direct mail. However, TV advertising, social media, blog posts and many other forms of marketing can be used to communicate these changes.
3. Retain your brand personality
Your company persona is a key element of your brand, so don’t let it desert you. When you need to convey a serious message, this doesn’t mean you can’t do it using your own unique voice. A brand’s story and personality are two of the things that attracts customers. By retaining the brand characteristics you’ve worked hard to create, you can remind customers that you’re still there for them.
Loyal customers may have interacted with your brand on numerous occasions. Any inadvertent change to your company voice will be noticed, even if it’s only subconsciously. To make sure your customers still have confidence in your business, take the time to ensure all copy and content reflects your brand identity.
4. Show customers they’re valued
It’s vital to value your customers at any time but the recent upheaval makes it more important than ever. Many people will be experiencing financial difficulties due to the economic impact of COVID-19, so they’ll be more hesitant about making purchases. Recognising these struggles and offering keyworker discounts, money off coupons and promo codes is an effective way to empathise, engage and support your customers.
Alternatively, why not send a simple ‘thank you’ email to your subscribers or post a message of thanks on social media? Recognising the on-going support your customers have shown – and repaying it – will help to enhance brand loyalty in the long-term and could help you to retain your customer base.
How will businesses recover from the pandemic?
The COVID-19 outbreak impacted every industry and brought many businesses to a standstill. While most companies have been permitted to re-open, it’s likely to take months or years for many businesses to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t reinstate your cash flow and achieve profitability much more quickly.
Understanding how peoples’ lives have changed during lockdown is key to being commercially successful in the short and medium term. Businesses who reassess the wants and needs of their target audience will be best placed to fulfil their desires.
Whether you’re a luxury brand or a provider of essential goods, knowing your market is essential. Conducting up to date research, being in tune with your target demographic and gathering feedback will help you to provide the innovative solutions customers are looking for.