3 ways retailers can increase sales and build relationships during lockdown

Imogen Wethered
by Imogen Wethered

With many countries around the world still demanding retailers keep their stores closed to stop the spread of Covid-19, retailers are up against a number of challenges, but there are a few worthwhile lessons brands can action from the first wave.

For many retailers, Covid-19 has meant months of closed shops, rushed orders on social distancing solutions and a barrage of new campaigns, sales and initiatives designed to lure customers back into stores. But now, as many retailers are forced to close their stores yet again, many retailers are struggling to find ways to continue serving their customers.

 

1) Customers want virtual appointments

While online sales soared during the last lockdown, one of the aspects consumers missed most about going into stores was the in-person service. During the lockdown, a significant proportion of consumers said they would have appreciated virtual services from brands. Our survey of 2,000+ UK consumers found that 54% of consumers want virtual service from essential brands (banks, pharmacies, supermarkets), while a further 31% want virtual service from brands.

Department store retailer Brown Thomas allows customers to book virtual appointments.

During lockdown, retailers should actively promote the virtual services available to consumers, and train teams on how to translate virtual appointments into online sales, or into in-store sales once stores reopen.

Find out more about virtual appointments.

2) Curbside click and collect is a must-have

One of the greatest initiatives that skyrocketed in popularity shortly after the first lockdown was lifted was curbside collection, with brands like M&S, John Lewis, Waitrose, Dunelm, Currys PC World and Pets At Home all offering the experience. The initiative allows customers to seamlessly collect online orders by parking in a designated parking spot, using their phones to alert store teams that they’ve arrived, and waiting in their cars for their orders to be delivered into their car boots.

A new report from the market analyst GlobalData revealed more than 40% of Britons said that once things were back to normal they would use curbside pickup for online orders more than they had before Covid-19, with the report stating: “Many consumers started using these services during the pandemic and found they like them.”

However, Currys PC World and a few others actually started offering the service during the lockdown by using their stores as temporary warehouses that allowed them to meet the increased consumer demand.

Watch the video below to see me trying the service myself:

3) Allow customers to preschedule store visits and services

Retailers in countries where a lockdown end date has been announces will have the advantage of forward planning their strategy for when stores reopen.

That’s why it’s a worthwhile idea to allow customers to book time-slots to visit your stores in advance or schedule in time with in-store experts ahead of time, so when your stores do reopen, you’ll have a steady flow of customers arriving in-store.

For more information on how to increase sales and build relationships during Covid-19, get in touch with the Qudini team on info@qudini.com

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