If yours is a business that is still weathering through the new normal, chances are you have to choose to re-open your physical outlet, keep selling online, or adopt the hybrid model. No matter how many entrepreneurs would love to go back to traditional selling, factors such as worker and customer safety ultimately have to be factored in the decision. At some point, you will have to compromise the human aspect of customer service that is best delivered when interacting with the shopper in person.
This sacrifice does not need to be a permanent fact, though. There are several ways you can add a more personalized touch to your customer service, even if you are limited to selling online at the moment. We share with you some of those:
Bring the In-Store Experience Online
Nothing beats the real thing, but showing to your customers that you are at least trying to replicate the in-store experience for the time being that you cannot open your retail outlet yet is enough to make them feel that you are still very much up and running and are open to cater to their needs. Virtual showrooms are becoming the norm for industries like home decor, furniture, and fixtures, basically any product sold primarily for their aesthetic value. Of course, this works best if coupled with a team that immediately responds to inquiries sent to the company’s email or during a scheduled Zoom or FaceTime call, so then the purchase can go as seamlessly as possible from there.
For a hybrid online-physical store setup, many businesses have introduced and continue to implement online appointment scheduling to monitor foot traffic into and out of the store, hence easing contact tracing efforts in their locality. Besides, through these online scheduling, businesses can know ahead of the customer’s visit schedule and, therefore, deploy the right team to accommodate them during their visit while ensuring the store does not exceed the maximum allowed number of individuals.
Apparel businesses have piloted their virtual try-on capabilities wherein a customer can upload a picture of his face or body, following lighting and capture angle requirements. They get to try on pieces of clothing or eyewear virtually. So far, such a setup has delivered impressive results that shoppers see themselves using this assistive technology for their future purchases. You could have your web designer incorporate such a feature into your website. Or, to offer a more exclusive experience for your loyal customers, a mobile app development service makes your customer service agents easier to reach and introduces new online services, including virtual try-on.
Until now, there has never been more emphasis on optimizing a business’s online store, such as bandwidth, download speed, site mapping, and security. The least you can do for your customers who are limited to purchase only from your online store is to make the browsing as pleasant an experience for them. Aside from fortifying your site with securing elements like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to make sure nobody else is allowed access to your and your customer’s online information, it is basic to keep your product listings updated with the clearest images and accurate information and, if possible, the real-time remaining number of stocks.
Display as much pertinent information about your limited-time offers, seasonal releases, and notices for your brand community on your homepage in the least flashy but the best-branded manner possible. Similarly, make your product categories accessible from the homepage and present them in a way that your customers will organize the products they get from you. For instance, if you sell bedroom gizmos for both sexes, labeling your product categories “for the man cave” and “for the girl boss” will add to your site’s appeal.
Nurture the Social Media Community You Made
If your social media accounts have been lying dormant, take this as a sign to spur more interaction with your followers. Post engaging and niche-relevant content during your audience’s most active hours. If you are capable, sign an influencer, preferably an authority in your niche, who can better introduce new products to your audience.
Many businesses are yet to realize the power they could harness with the help of social media. Merely checking your audience’s activity can give you great market trend insights, more so if you launch an ad, hashtag, or other types of social media campaign wherein you can have a deeper look into their lifestyles and consumption choices. Moreover, you can give a more approachable impression by providing feedback for the inquiries and complaints they leave as comments on your posts.
With or without the pandemic, businesses should be well on their way to digitalization. That is, if they want to stay competitive in the e-commerce-driven economy, where their next customer could be living on the other side of the world.