by Alex Quackenbush | Originally posted on Total Retail (mytotalretail.com)
Consumers are back in stores at rates we haven’t seen since the pandemic started. While e-commerce continues to boom, long delivery delays and out-of-stock products have propelled shoppers back to their in-person stores to find what they need and want in hand immediately. This long awaited return to brick-and-mortar shopping is a great opportunity to serve the customers that need your products urgently.
But even as retail foot traffic increases, store owners and managers continue to face a new array of challenges. Here are three helpful ways to greet your returning customers successfully:
- Make sure stores are deep-cleaned and well-maintained. In the wake of the pandemic, customer perceptions about germs and cleanliness have changed significantly — and it’s never been more important to visibly showcase a sparkling, thoroughly cleaned retail environment. A store with questionable bathroom cleanliness, or even just visible dust — let alone a burnt out lightbulb or other obvious maintenance problems — can turn a shopper on her heel, right out the door. To keep customers engaged with your store and coming back time and again, partner with a reputable janitorial company to keep your space truly clean and impeccably maintained.
- Keep back-of-house doors maintained and repaired. Now that supply chains aren’t as strained, it would be a shame to have product delivered and not be able to get it on shelves. This is exactly what can happen when facility managers neglect the preventative maintenance their delivery doors and stock rooms need. Be sure to keep your back-of-house doors maintained and repaired so you don’t encounter these issues.
- Front doors should be welcoming and easy to open. It may sound obvious, but the front doors of your store are your first opportunity to create a good impression for your incoming customers. And without proper maintenance they can become a liability to customers, employees or product. Typically issues come from not having a frequent maintenance schedule — which should be quarterly or semi-annually depending on the types of doors.
As consumers continue to return in droves to in-person shopping experiences, retailers have both opportunities and liabilities to address. Buttoning up your facility with these practical tips is a good first step toward effectively welcoming customers back to your store. However, don’t forget that there are even more solutions available to upgrade your retail environment should you want to take your preparations even further. Consider meeting with your in-store staff to capture their ideas for enhancing the shopping experience, running an audit or evaluation of your operations to identify gaps, or even bringing on a specialized facility expert that knows how to curate and manage an exceptional in-store experience. Whatever road you take toward improving your customers’ shopping experiences, there’s no question that your preparations and upgrades will pay off in customer satisfaction and return visits.
Alex Quackenbush is strategic account director for TrueSource, an OnPoint Group Company, and the first call for retailers and property managers in need of critical facility maintenance for more than 50 years.