HARDISON’S TIPS – MAY 19, 2021 – HOW TO WELCOME PEOPLE IN YOUR STORE DURING COVID 19
2. Reassure Customers Thinking About Making a Visit to Drive Footfall and Increase Retail Sales
As consumers, we’re all busier than ever before. So a trip to a store that turns out to be a waste of time because they didn’t have what you want is a very frustrating experience. One of the best ways to increase sales in a retail store is to make it easy for customers to confirm that the product they’re looking for is in stock. Some retailers have addressed the problem of stock availability by implementing expensive real-time stock tracking solutions across their store network. The problem with this approach is that customers have to go find it on your website. Many are more likely to just pick up the phone and call the store, which brings us back to the same problems we highlighted in the previous section.
The COVID-19 pandemic will cause a spike in stock availability queries, partly because broken supply chains are causing stock outages to be more commonplace but also because of changes in human behaviour. Customers will be wary of visiting stores due to concerns about their own personal safety and/or fear of spreading the virus to others. More customers will be on a mission to get a job done (e.g. buy a tin of paint) rather than simply going shopping. For that reason, they’ll be keen to make sure the store they’re planning to visit can help them get the job done before they make the trip.
Messaging is an extremely efficient and convenient way for consumers to ask about stock availability and for store associates to answer them. Google’s new Click-to-Message solution is particularly useful here as it instantly reduces call volumes. Other advantages become apparent when looking at scenarios such as buying that tin of paint, where sending images can really help with colour selection. Sticking with the hardware theme, the customer might send an image of a hole they’re trying to fix and the product expert in the store could suggest the best product for the job at hand. In the case of a fashion store, it would be a great experience if the customer could send a message ahead and include images of the clothes they want to try on. That would enable your staff to have them ready and waiting for the customer on arrival. This will be particularly relevant where clothes may have to be “quarantined” for 48 hours or more after being tried on due to COVID-19, which could put huge pressure on in-store stock levels.
Enabling Google Business Messages can help you increase retail sales almost immediately.
The final benefit of messaging in this context is that it gives the store associate time to think about what the relevant cross-sells for the product in question are and what discount they can offer if the customer was to price check the product online etc. Much better than being caught “on the hop” by a customer.