Bringing Customers Back to Your Small Business After Reopening
Following several weeks of voluntary and mandatory closures across the country, small businesses are beginning to reopen their doors. With many owners looking to recoup some of their recent losses and support their staffs, the hope is that customers will return as soon as possible. While there’s no guarantee that will happen, there may be efforts you can take to help welcome them back.
On that note, let’s take a look at a few tips for bringing customers back to your small business after reopening.
5 Tips for Bringing Customers Back After Shutting Down
Promote your precautions and policies
As phased reopenings of businesses continue, there are several restrictions and guidelines that businesses will need to adhere to. On top of that, it’s always in your best interest to ensure that your customers feel safe (and are as safe as possible). That’s why it’s likely a good idea to promote what steps you’re taking and changes you’re making to your operations.
By announcing these measures and policies on your website and/or social media, you’ll not only be helping to put customers at ease as they consider returning but will also help them to better prepare for the experience. Sadly, you may also face some pushback from select customers regarding the policies you’ve set out. Ultimately, it will be up to you to weigh any potential feedback and determine what the right path forward is. Although this may be difficult, just remember that there are customers who will support your decision and appreciate your consideration.
Still offer curbside or shipping options
During lockdowns, some small businesses began offering options such as delivery, shipping, or curbside pick-up for the first time. However, not all local governments allowed this for every type of business. Meanwhile, some business owners may have determined that operating only with these options wouldn’t be economically viable. Nevertheless, as reopenings continue, it may be worth reconsidering adding these other shopping mediums to your strategy.
Even with proper safety measures in place, the fact is that some of your customers may not yet be ready to return to the retail routine. Therefore, offering other options to help ease them back into the marketplace will be appreciated on their end and could help boost your sales.
By the way, this process could be as simple as having customers call the store or send you messages on social media to place orders. However, if you do have some time and money to invest, it may be worth taking this opportunity to build out a more formal e-commerce platform. That said, rushing into an online component can backfire if you don’t know what you’re doing, so be sure to take the time to create an e-shopping site that provides as welcoming a customer experience as possible.
Try social media ads
Social media is not only a great way to keep in touch with existing customers be can also assist you in finding new ones. To that point, there may be many shoppers in your community who are looking to support local businesses but aren’t sure where to turn. That’s why investing in social media ads at this time may be beneficial and assist with customer acquisition.
Another major benefit to social media advertising is that rates and minimums are typically quite low. This is key considering that many business owners are likely low on working capital at the moment due to extended closures. Also notable are the targeting tools that these platforms offer, allowing you to easily “find your people.”
As a side note, before you do begin a social media ad campaign, be sure to double-check your profile and confirm that everything is up to date. For example, with some shops reopening with limited operating hours, it’s critical that the latest information is available. Remember: the easier you can make it for prospective customers to visit and support you, the more likely they’ll be to do so.
Partner with other businesses in your community
If there’s one thing we’ve heard again and again during this crisis, it’s that “we’re all in this together.” Well, that sentiment doesn’t go away as we begin to reopen. Quite the contrary, now is the time to celebrate your community and for all local small businesses to help lift each other up.
There are several ways you and your fellow business owners can support each other, with options being as simple as promoting each other’s locations in store and on social media. Meanwhile, with some creativity, you could also arrange for special promotions where customers can earn a prize — such as being entered into a drawing for a gift card bundle — for visiting multiple businesses. Obviously you’ll want to communicate and coordinate with other entrepreneurs and be mindful about their current economic realities while searching for promotional ideas, but rest assured that these types of community efforts won’t go unnoticed.
Consider stocking/creating new products
Finally, as you navigate reopening, you may be considering whether adding new products to your line-up makes sense. A prime example of this is clothing retailers who have begun adding face coverings to their offerings. Meanwhile other potential additions may be less obvious but should speak to your customer’s needs in this “new normal.” Of course, while you may not have any specific suggestions for this now, keeping an open mind and listening to what your customers are telling you in the coming weeks and months may inspire some mutually beneficial ideas down the road.
Given the different conditions in various areas of the country and the diversity in business types, one owner’s reopening experience may not resemble another’s. With this reality, it’ll ultimately be up to you to navigate the best path forward for your business and your customers. Still, be taking the necessary safety precautions, offering additional options, promoting yourself and other local businesses, and considering adjustments to the items you stock, you’ll be ready to welcome back customers as soon as they’re ready to return.
Also published on Medium.