Six Changes for Businesses During COVID That Are Here to Stay

Six Changes for Businesses During COVID That Are Here to Stay

Almost one year into the COVID pandemic and we’re all still trying to figure out what’s going on. Should masks be required? Will kids be going back to school? Do we need goggles and a full body suit?

What we do know is that a lot of customers are still concerned about their health and the health of those around them. Because of that, there are several things we all should be doing (and marketing) in our businesses.

First, it’s not only important to change business processes to help ease customers’ worries over safety but it’s equally important to make sure that you tell customers and market what you’re doing. You’re changing how you do business. Make sure your customers know what you’re doing to help keep them safe.

Offer Cashless Checkouts

This goes beyond encouraging usage of cards. Cashless, contactless checkouts that use apps like digital wallet programs instead of providing a card mean less exchange between your employees and the customer. While not every one of your customers will feel comfortable or use this technology, for those who do, they will appreciate the opportunity.

Auto-open Doors

These days people don’t want to touch a doorknob. Ideally, you would install auto-open doors, but this is not always feasible. You can also install foot openers or swinging doors for a less expensive solution. At the very least, change out the doorknobs so that people can work them with an elbow, not need to turn a knob. Customers do not feel comfortable touching/turning surfaces right now. Make it easier on them.

Make Room

Social distancing/maintaining 6-foot distance is important to customer safety and well-being but you should also look at ways to work on flow and congestion in your place of business. Few people recognize the one-way aisles you’ve stickered the floor with. Instead, look at your cash register/payment area. If your register is at the end of an aisle, look at how you might put it in an area that would be more convenient and make it less congested. Watch traffic patterns and notice where things naturally crowd up. Make arrangements to adjust the flow.
Also, if you have an item that most people are interested, a big seller or the reason a lot of your customers come in, place it in an easy-to-access spot. In times of no-COVID, you’d likely want them to walk through your business to get it but not now. Make it as easy as possible to get the item quickly. If you decide signs would help direct traffic flow, make them humorous. In most businesses, there’s a lot going on, including a lot of visual stimulation. Regular signs will blend in and people won’t take notice of them. Don’t believe that? Go to the mall. That place is peppered with signs that no one reads.

Maintain Great Customer Service

If you have the staff, consider creating points of less contact and offer to get things for people visiting your business. It may mean less impulse buying by your customers, but it will make them feel more secure.

Show Them the Wipes

Don’t make any customers wonder if you’re wiping everything down. Make sure you are. Let them see you doing it. While you needn’t follow them around and wipe every surface the minute they walk by, do let them see you wiping down display areas, doors, and other often-touched spots and products. 

Don’t Put It Back Directly

When someone takes something from the shelf and changes their mind before purchasing it, have a very visible wipe down pile that will be sanitized before being returned to a public spot. If your business uses kiosks or touch screens accessible to the public, consider placing a staff member there to operate them for the customer. Doing so will ensure fewer touches on your equipment.
COVID precautions are a fluid subject these days. These are just a few ways to continue making your customers feel safer and more secure when doing business with you. Continue to inform consumers of of all the extra steps you’re taking and they will appreciate your efforts and continue to do business with you and likely tell their friends and family as well.

Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so. Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. 

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