It’s been nearly a month since the U.S. Government issued social distancing guidelines meant to discourage citizens from shopping and spending as usual. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and some essential pet retailers – especially brick and mortar – are struggling to maintain relationships with their customers.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure your customers are in the know and able to support your business.
If you haven’t set up a Facebook or Instagram page for your store, the time is now. Once your pages are up and running, you’ll need to find your customers within the platforms and ask them to follow your pages. Alert your customer base that you’ll be sharing updates on social media by sending an email to your subscribers, posting a sign on your storefront for those using curbside pickup, and directing your staff to mention your pages when customers call your store.
Use your new social media pages to share product availability, store updates, and pet photos of course! Be sure to engage with customers by quickly replying to comments, direct messages, and reviews.
With many states enacting mandatory shelter-in-place orders, many Americans have radically increased their time spent on social media, email and browsing the web. Compared to January, global email open rates increased by 21% in March despite companies sending fewer emails.
You can use email to keep in touch with your customers by sharing important updates, special offers, availability of hard-to-find products, and new arrivals.
The pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping with eCommerce marketplaces reporting a 14% increase in volume from March 23-30. If your business doesn’t have a website, now is the time to invest in your online presence through eCommerce – check out Animal Supply Connect to get started.
In addition to offering products online, you should ensure any new policies, pickup and delivery options, store hours, or product availability updates are clearly displayed on the homepage of your website. Bonus: If you’re posting more frequently on social media or sending more emails during the pandemic, make sure your social media pages and email sign up form are linked from your homepage.
Many consumers are rallying behind local businesses to offer support during the pandemic, so look for ways you can build relationships outside of your existing customers.
Enlist the help of your staff and most loyal customers to spread the word about your store through their families, friends and social media followers.
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what resources they have available to help you share information about your store with members of your community.
Your business’ success relies on more than just the products in your store. It’s about the relationships you have with pet parents in your community. Take time to communicate with your customers today so you have the opportunity to serve them tomorrow.