Re-building consumer confidence as COVID-19 hits retailers worldwide

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Lockdown has eased in various parts of the world in an effort to facilitate economic stability. Many shops, salons, cinemas, restaurants and various small businesses have now been allowed to re-open their doors. However, the challenge facing these businesses is instilling confidence in consumers to actually return to them with coronavirus still very much a present threat. After many months of hardship, it is crucial for businesses to help their customers feel safe and secure should they wish to return to their premises. But how exactly can companies achieve this?

Exemplary customer experience

Chief among customers’ concerns is how they will be protected from other patrons when they enter the retail premises. To combat this, UK-based customer service experts CALLCARE suggest that retailers must not only offer an exemplary in-store experience but ensure this is communicated from the moment they arrive. In their ebook “Building Consumer Confidence In The Post-Pandemic Era”, they wrote: “Be aware of maintaining social distancing measures and making hygiene a priority, and don’t be afraid to make these things more visible than ever to your customer to help ease their worries.”

Share your response to the pandemic

“Instead of stating what your business can do, show them what it has done”, says Noman Nalkhandle, founder of WP Adventure. He believes that one of the ways in which your business can regain confidence in customers is by using visual media. He suggests taking photos of the environment showing the hygiene precautions currently set in place and embedding a video on the website demonstrating steps taken to combat the pandemic. “It could encompass the entire journey,” he continues, “right from sourcing the products, the care ensured during logistics to finally making it to the shelves.”

Look after employees to look after your customers

Customers may not only be anxious about contracting the virus from fellow shoppers though; they could also be wary of your own employees. Handling purchases, handing over cash and welcoming customers to the premises each present a risk of spreading coronavirus. Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst, explained some of the ways that his business has gone about overcoming this: “Before returning to the office, it is mandatory for everyone to undergo swab tests to make sure that no one has contracted the virus before we resume physical store operations,” he said. “We also informed our customers that we have undergone swab tests for both parties’ safety.”

Businesses must be willing to innovate

One way that businesses will work to boost consumer confidence is by implementing technology that’s designed to identify people who may be symptomatic. Ariel Haroush, CEO of OUTFORM, realised in the early stages of the pandemic that hygiene and social distancing measures would be an ingrained behavior for years to come. Therefore, he believes that using innovate technologies like OUTFORM’s iDISPLAY, a touchless thermometer that takes temperature in two seconds, will serve as an affordable way for companies to get back to business safely. “In our new normal, I can see thermometers becoming as standard as office key cards,” Haroush predicts.

Respond to consumers feedback

The coronavirus is uncharted territory for businesses. Because of this, it is important for businesses to learn as they go along. The best way they can go about this is by encouraging feedback from customers. This way retailers can gain insight into areas where their response to the virus needs improvement. As Alex Deutsch, CEO of Oasis Tile, says: “Introducing new processes to ensure customers feel safe at your store isn’t sufficient to make people safe; it is also necessary to ask customers for feedback for your new changes. He also implores that businesses respond to these suggestions quickly to make adjustments regarding health and safety more customer-friendly.

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