Best practices for brick & mortar businesses to increase customer engagement and sales!
The current pandemic is putting many small business owners with a brick & mortar location in a tough place. So many rely on foot traffic to their locations to pay the bills. However, if you are a small business owner with a physical location, I encourage you to take at least one, if not all of these tips, and implement it in your business today. These are things I've shared with a few local business owners. They are working to keep customer engagement high and bring visibility to products they never knew existed before this all started.
Establish an Ecommerce Presence
So many products or services can be sold online. Do you have an ecommerce storefront for customers to purchase? Even when this pandemic passes, you can still generate sales from local customers and create a new group of customers from all over the US to your online store.
If you aren't tech savvy (and even if you are), Shopify is the recommendation I would suggest to get a storefront up fast. Due to the pandemic they have extended their 14-day trial to 90 days. Shopify is also including gift card purchases in all plans (this was restricted to the higher plans).
As you get started, I want you to focus only on creating a bare bones storefront. Your store doesn't need all the bells and whistles of a major ecommerce presence. Just add the basic products or services for now. products or services doesn't have to Put your products and services online. You can even create a local delivery or pickup within the checkout.
Email Your Customers
Since it's been a few weeks the customers that need you have likely already reached out to you. But what about the customers that didn't reach out to you?
You must email your customers so they are aware of how you plan to support them during this time of uncertainty. Facebook's algorithm restricts posts from your page and group. You cannot rely on social media as the only source to communicate to your customers. Plus, you don't own those platforms but you DO own your customer email list.
Do you have an email software? Both gmail and yahoo have limits for how many people you can send emails to at once. Many small businesses have an email provider instead of relying on gmail or yahoo. I personally use ConvertKit. You can create a totally free account to email up to 500 customers/email addresses. You can easily import your customers emails too.
This is even more important to do when you have your ecommerce storefront live. ConvertKit also Integrates nicely with Shopify so you can send automated emails to your customers after checkout when they buy a product or service.
Advertising to Customers and Potential Customers
When you have a storefront you can advertise with many platforms like Google and Facebook. I've found the most effective way to get in front of your audience is through Facebook advertising.
Before you start doing any Facebook ads, you need to create a Business Manager account. Follow these instructions to get your ads account converted from a personal account to the Business Manger account.
Once you've moved your account to a Business Manager account, check out my Facebook advertising tips so you can confidently create a campaign to reach your customers and target audience.
Do you have your customer's phone numbers? On any intake, you should have an email list signup and a texting signup. I like to get notifications from my favorite local brands to know what specials they are running. This is a great way to get in front of your customers everyday so they know what you're up to!
I have experience with SimpleTexting. It was the cheapest and most sophisticated texting platform I researched. You can segment your customers and send unique texts based on their interests.
If you're a florist, you can have a separate texting list of customers who only want to know when your arrangements of roses are on sale. If you're a boutique, you can create a separate list of customers who wear a specific size and let them know when those items are clearanced.
Bottom line, texting can get more traffic (both virtual and by foot when they can come back) to your store to increase sales.
Social Media Awareness
Social media is a great resource during times like this. You can immediately notify many people who like your business about your plans. However, as I mentioned earlier, it's not guaranteed that your message will get into their feeds. However, you still need to send updates there as part of your brand.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all of the updates on every platform? I completely understand!
You can use something like IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, to create rules for posting on different platforms when it posts to one. You can also use a paid service like Hootsuite to post to multiple platforms at once.
Just keep in mind that there may be reach limitations for Facebook updates since Facebook prefers their own scheduler. However, either of those platforms are an easy way to get updates done at once so you can work on getting your store created or emailing your customers to generate revenue.
Do you have any questions?
Please leave a comment if you have any questions on any of the tips listed above.
To learn how you can create a digital marketing and operations plan for your business, check out my FREE Business Planning for Success download.