A Guide to Successful Retail in the Age of COVID-19 (MA Version)
Posted on June 29 2020
Tips To Improve Your Audio / Video Retail Business
The retail landscape is changing rapidly and store owners need to take decisive action or face the risk of getting left behind. There are always opportunities during a crisis and now is the time to make some positive changes that will help your business in the short run and establish a strong foundation for the future. In this guide, we’ll share with you some great strategies that will enable your retail store to continue generating sales and thrive in the age of COVID-19. Our discussion will focus on how to attract existing and new customers into your store, how to improve your online sales and what products will be in higher demand for the foreseeable future. Let’s get started!
Create a Safe Retail Environment
With retail businesses now open in most parts of the world, we need to make customers feel safe and comfortable enough to walk through the door. On the surface, it might seem that putting new cleaning and social distancing measures in place is enough to bring your customers back. However the reality is that you’ll have to let your customers know what you’re doing to keep them safe and actively invite them to visit your store.
To start with, we suggest developing a store cleaning procedure that will satisfy both your staff and customers. This should include disinfecting all high touch surfaces and items multiple times per day - we’re talking about door handles, countertops, storage / display cabinet handles, debit / credit machines, counter tops and bathrooms. Make your store feel so clean, you could eat your lunch right off the counter!
Next, we recommend implementing a number of safety and social distancing measures. Requiring your staff and customers to wear face masks when interacting with customers is a good start. However other measures such as limiting the number of customers inside the store, installing a hand sanitizer pump by the front door, installing plexiglass shields in front of the cash register and applying social distancing stickers on the floor are just as important.
Lastly, offer your customers a chance to book a personal shopping experience or demo at your store, which can be easily done before or after regular shopping hours.
How To Invite Customers
Now that your cleaning and social distancing measures are in play, the next step is to communicate this with your customers. We cannot stress just how important this step is. Failing to do so would be like preparing a great dinner party and forgetting to invite your friends. Getting customers to return to your store will require a strategic approach and effective, on-going communication through a series of different channels. This is a two-step process: one, get customers to visit your website; two, offer customers attractive reasons to visit your retail store.
Start by developing a promotion that tells customers about the safety measure you have implemented and entice customers to visit your store by giving them specific reasons to walk through the door. This can be a simple promotion like “Spring into summer with great savings on all products this July” or a brand specific promotion like “Save 15% on all Monitor Audio Silver Series speakers this July”. Need some other promotional ideas? Consider that most people are spending a lot more time in their homes these days, setting up home office spaces, tackling home renovations and generally willing to invest into entertainment like music, home theater and gaming systems. Here are some ideas:
- Upgrade your home office audio [should resonate with everyone that’s working from home].
- Great deals on headphones: enjoy music late at night when the kids are asleep or while walking your dog.
- Planning to spend a lot of time on your patio this summer? Enjoy music outdoors with one of these great outdoor speakers.
- Check out our brand new selection of records.
- Free record cleaning: bring in your dirtiest record and we’ll get it squeaky clean.
- Great deals on in-stock items [this is your chance to get rid of older or underperforming stock items].
There is a growing trend among consumers to support local businesses throughout the Covid-19 crisis so don’t be shy to include messaging related to this in your communication.
The next step is to share this promotion with your customers. To ensure best success, be sure to share your communication with existing and new potential customers. We recommend taking these steps:
- Create a banner for the homepage of your website.
- Send your promotion via an email newsletter to all existing customers [do this once a month].
- Post your promotion on Facebook once per week and make sure to boost [advertise] the post everytime to maximize the number of Facebook users that see it.
- Phone your most valued customers, ask them how they’re enjoying their latest purchases and tell them about the new promotion.
- Run an online advertising campaign targeting local consumers via Google Ads or Facebook -- or target a broader audience by advertising on one of the many audio related websites.
How To Improve Your Online Sales
1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Over 50% of online users visit websites on their phones.
It’s no surprise that online sales of nearly all consumer products grew by leaps and bounds over the last few months. Amazon’s North American sales grew by a staggering 29% during the first quarter of 2020. If you’re not already focusing a good amount of effort on your online sales, we strongly urge you to do so. The homepage of your site is just as important as your physical store front, and all other website pages are the equivalent to the interior of your store.
Here are some tips that are guaranteed to help increase your online sales:
2. Display high quality pictures on your homepage and focus on brands that sell well. Use a slider on your homepage which will allow you to display multiple scrolling images.
3. Highlight your current promotions on the homepage.
4. Promote free shipping, free delivery and curb side pick-up on the homepage and all throughout your site. If you’re not already offering these conveniences, now is the perfect time to start.
5. Add a newsletter subscription form to your website and give reasons for people to sign up - like a 10% off their first purchase. Newsletters are one of the most powerful digital marketing tools because they allow you to communicate with your most loyal customers. We recommend sending all your subscribers a monthly newsletter. In addition to highlighting your promotions in the newsletter, be sure to include some useful information such as links to audio related articles that your customers will find helpful.
6. Add a Live Chat option to your website. Everyone loves getting an answer on the spot and an increasing number of people prefer to ask their questions via a live chat rather than making a phone call.
Would you like to promote a Kevro brand on your website? Please visit our Images & Assets page where you will find a selection of web banners, high resolution images and a variety of marketing tools. If you are unable to find a web banner with the correct dimensions for your website on this page, please contact Casey Carlton at firstname.lastname@example.org today and he’ll be happy to provide you with a resized banner.
If you need help redesigning your homepage, adding new features to your website or developing a brand new site, we recommend connecting with a company like NOVO MxC who specializes in helping companies in the audio industry.
Retail in the age of COVID-19 is going to throw some challenges your way. However if you recognize that a crisis presents an opportunity to evolve your business model, you might come out the other end stronger than ever. Implement some of the tips from this guide in your marketing strategy and you’re certain to see some positive results!