Offering a safe, no-contact buying experience is no longer just a business advantage. In our current circumstances, it’s quickly becoming a consumer expectation. Though this shift to digitalization can appear daunting, it actually constitutes an opportunity to transform in ways that will allow businesses to find and convert more quality leads. It will also help businesses maximize their resources and create better connections than ever before—all without traditional methods.
The bottom line? No contact, no problem. Below you’ll find a list of proven tips to help your business not only survive, but thrive in our expedited digital marketplace.
1. Create (or revamp) your company’s online shopping experience.
A lot of customers want to buy from you, but not all of them are able to trek out to your physical location or feel comfortable purchasing products onsite. Fortunately, you can still cater to these customers with a quality and personalized online shopping experience. Based on a Statista survey of over 1,300 online shoppers, the most important aspects of a great virtual shopping experience are:
- Clear product images or videos
- Product reviews
- Product descriptions
- An easy checkout process
- Easy search function
- Simple navigation
- Convenient mobile layout
- A payment option
- A way for the shop to remember them
2. Make your landline textable.
Most people—approximately 90%—prefer that businesses text them rather than call or email. As the need for touchless interactions has increased, text usage has skyrocketed and will only continue to climb in the future. Make your landline textable to allow for seamless, convenient communication between your customers and your business. Also, make sure to let your customers know that they can text you, even outside of normal business hours. You can do this through your social media accounts and by including a catchy headline update on your landing page or a sign in your store window that reads, “Text us, we’re open!”
3. Use social media to engage customers in creative ways.
Many businesses have found creative ways to virtually engage customers during this time and have taken to social media to spread the word. One New York gym is offering virtual yoga classes to all members until they reopen. A book store is hosting virtual book clubs and writing classes. Some businesses, like Fragola, are employing social media not only to engage customers, but also to give back to their community. Fragola is offering free baby food to moms in need and encouraging other businesses to find ways to give back as well.
The opportunities to engage customers through social media are plentiful and can be very meaningful, too. Instead of your usual content, use social media to effectively connect with leads and create opportunities for customers to interact with your business from the comfort of their homes.
4. Use mass messaging to communicate policy changes.
During this uncertain time, clear communication about important policy changes is paramount to helping your customers have an effective consumer experience. And when it comes to communicating quickly and conveniently, text is the way to go.
While you don’t want to bombard customers with texts, short messages about updated openings, times, and appointments can be very helpful. Use mass messaging to communicate important changes within your business to a large number of customers at once.
5. Implement a live chat tool on your website.
Using your website to provide helpful information is business 101, but allowing visitors to chat with you with one click is taking your site to the next level. Having a live chat feature allows potential customers to contact you in a way that’s easy and comfortable for them. Make sure to train your team on how to effectively leverage this tool so that no incoming messages or inbound leads slip through the cracks.
6. Be available to your customers through every communication channel.
Who says you can’t be in two places at once? Each online presence you create opens your business up to a new pool of people and allows more customers to get ahold of you. The number of channels consumers leverage continues to grow every year. Your customers are now not only on facebook, instagram, twitter, linkedin, and youtube, but messenger, whatsapp, line, and so much more.
Increase your reach by meeting your customers where they are. This will not only increase your inbound leads, but also let your customers know that you care about being accessible and responsive and are in tune with their communication preferences.
7. Communicate new precautions and processes through every communication channel.
During a time of crisis, consumer fear and trust breakdown is high. Transparent, responsive communication goes a long way to reassure customers and mitigate their fears. Use the new communication channels you’ve acquired to keep your customers highly informed on your latest updates and changes.
Customers want, (even may feel a need), to know what to expect from your business (details about your curbside pickup process, any anticipated shipping delays, inventory updates, etc.). They also need to know if anything (like wearing a mask) is expected of them if they are planning to come onsite. Be clear about any new processes through all of your channels so your customers can shop, online or onsite, with ease.
8. Speaking of curbside service—offer it.
Many companies have already done this, but if you haven’t, it’s never too late! Curbside service not only reduces the spread of infection, but also gives your customers and employees a feeling of security. If you think your business isn’t suited for curbside pickup, get creative! Auto shops can have customers pull into the lot and leave their keys in the ignition. Boutique owners can bundle up pre-ordered clothes and deliver them to customers’ cars. With your business’s personal customer experience in mind, think of simple, effective ways you can reduce contact in order to cater to all of your customers’ comfort levels.
9. Connect with your customers, clients, and patients through video chat.
In addition to texting and live chat, you’ve also probably looked into video chat solutions to effectively facilitate extended conversations with clients. One of our customers recently said:
“If a text thread is going to take more than three responses to answer a customer’s question, being able to hop on a quick video call may be the next best answer. And if your texting platform has a built-in video chat, then all the better for a seamless customer experience.”
Use video chat to show customers through your floor, answer questions about minute details of a product and its mechanics/measurements, and personalize a premium virtual shopping experience.
10. Collect payments through text message in a touchless, secure, and convenient way.
Mobile payments benefit you AND your customer. For your customer, paying through a text link constitutes a frictionless transaction from click to close. No card, no onsite visit, no exchange; it’s all right there in the conversation. For you, it’s a simple way to get faster payments.
While most POS or merchant accounts don’t have a way to facilitate these transactions, a solution for text-based payments like Podium Payments does. With this feature, you can move many of your transactions to messaging channels and offer a touchless experience that is much safer than collecting credit card info over the phone or in person. Billing can often be a source of frustration and time-loss with traditional methods. But with mobile payments, you can keep everyone happy with a few simple clicks.
With these ten suggestions, you’re well on your way to creating an A+ digital presence and contactless experience, making shopping comfortable and convenient for you and your customers. And we’ve only shared a third of our tips! Click here to view our on-demand webinar and learn more about how you can create the ultimate touchless consumer experience and convert customers for life.