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COVID-19 Retailer Action Plan

There’s no doubt COVID-19 will impact retail globally. To help you get on top of the drop, we have mapped out four phases of impact on the sector and what to do during each of them. We have also made recommendations on the Vend tools you can use to ride it out. We are also offering three months free on Vend’s advanced loyalty program, powered by Marsello, plus three months on BigCommerce’s powerful ecommerce platform, to help you get through the drop.

Get on top of the drop

Here is how COVID-19 may affect your retail store, and how to prepare.

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PHASE ONE

Stores are open as per usual

  1. Focus on staff and customer safety
  2. Make sure customers know you are open
  3. Collect customer details so you can stay in touch
  4. Set up email marketing and ecommerce channels

Focus on staff and customer safety

You’ve heard this a million times by now, but it’s worth repeating: wash your hands often and constantly sanitize the high-touch surfaces and areas of your store. Everyone in your team should understand the importance of cleanliness at this time.

Make sure customers know you are open

If you’re planning to stay open during this period, make sure your customers know about it.

Have a big “OPEN” sign on your front window so passers-by know that they can come in. If possible, set up a sandwich board right outside your shop directing people inside. Bonus points if you can get creative with your messaging — perhaps write some words of encouragement or use the board to promote any offers or products in-store.

Use digital channels to your advantage. Post regular updates on social media telling people that you’re open and send emails and texts around the same messaging.

Collect customer details so you can stay in touch

Be sure to collect customer details if you can so you can update them on your store, and let them know if anything changes due to coronavirus. Collect customer information at the point of sale. For best results, use a loyalty program, such as Marsello. You could also throw in additional incentives — such as giveaways for those who sign up.

Open email marketing and ecommerce channels

Customers may start to stay home - depending on advice in your region. We think you should prepare for a slowdown. You should implement new tools to help you get through the lull, and to ensure you make a splash when things get moving again.

Online marketing tools like Marsello let you talk to your customer via email, SMS and social media.

If you don’t have an ecommerce site yet, set up one that integrates with your point of sale. If you’re a Vend user, our BigCommerce integration gives you everything you need to run your retail business, online and in-store.

Get these channels set up so you can update your customers and let them shop with you in new ways.

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PHASE TWO

Things are slowing down

  1. Keep collecting customer details
  2. Offer free shipping or kerbside pickup

Keep collecting customer details

Just because you’re putting some distance between you and your customers in real life, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in contact with them. Keep collecting customer details and start to reach out to let them know they can shop with you online.

With fewer customers walking through your doors, you need to be creative and find ways to get your products into their hands. Consider initiatives like local contactless deliveries or contactless curbside pickup.

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PHASE THREE

Closing the doors to ride it out

  1. Double down on ecommerce
  2. Take the time to optimise

Double down on ecommerce

If you need to close up for a short while, the first thing you should do is to inform your customers. Utilize all communication channels — including email, SMS, and social media — to get the word out. If possible, keep your phone lines open so customers can call with questions and concerns.

Keep encouraging people to shop with you online. Consider offering incentives like discounts and free shipping to drive sales.

If you carry items that are in high demand right now, like personal care or home office supplies, now is the time to market them.

Take the time to optimise

While the store is quiet, it’s the perfect time to make the changes you’ve always wanted to but were too busy.

Implement new tools or systems so you are ready for doors to open again. Perhaps it’s a new accounting system or a new way to manage inventory.

Physical stock counts are difficult when shoppers are in store, so take advantage of the quiet period to do a full stock take. Digitize your stock-taking process using an app like Scanner, which lets you do full and partial inventory counts using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. You can also use this time to dig into your reporting and analytics. Analyzing your data correctly enables you to make well-informed decisions around things like stock ordering, promotions and staffing.

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PHASE FOUR

Prepare for the spring back

  1. Let your customers know you’re open again
  2. Make the most of your new habits

Let your customers know you’re open again

Ready to open your doors again? You could spruce up your storefront and curbside, make a big splash on social media, send emails and texts to your VIPs and hold events.

Make the most of your new habits

Hopefully, the downtime gave you a chance to set up your new tools, integrations, and systems. Continue what’s working and keep finding ways to improve! Now, your strategies and workflows will depend on your specific business, but consider how you can use the tools and platforms you have to personalise the shopping experience, strengthen customer loyalty, boost store productivity and offer great in-store service and experience.

Get on top of the drop with Marsello and BigCommerce

We are offering three months free on Vend’s advanced loyalty program, powered by Marsello, plus three months on BigCommerce’s powerful ecommerce platform, to help you get through these unsettling times.

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