Retail Transformation

How to Keep Your Brick & Mortar Business Running During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

Kayla Ford Kayla Ford 6 min read
How to Keep Your Brick & Mortar Business Running During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

In times of “social distancing” consumers choose to (or they’re forced to) stay home. With restaurants, bars, clubs, malls, and event venues closed, overall foot traffic will automatically decline. The challenge for you as a brick & mortar retailer is figuring out how to navigate this pandemic and keep your brick & mortar business alive. Good news: It can be done!

 

Quote about coronavirus

As seen on social media – furniture becomes the centerpiece of this new reality with more people than ever forced to work from home.

 

The nationwide reaction to the pandemic is forcing a lot of people to work from home, causing them to realize they need to update their furniture – specifically their home office. The question is: How can this be done with low foot traffic or with the doors to your store closed, even?

 

How to Keep Your Brick & Mortar Business Alive During the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

It’s time to think outside the box and make use of the resources you have. Remote selling is the solution that allows shoppers to still make major purchases while allowing your sales staff to work in isolated circumstances – either at the store or at home. Here’s how you can get started with remote selling right away:

 

1. Use your customer contact lists for cold calls and to email your customers.

Have your RSAs (Retail Sales Associates) reach out to past customers and leads you have generated over time. Use your in-store offers or previous items they’ve viewed to pique interest and spark a conversation. In times like these it’s really not hard to find an ice breaker topic…

 

Need Help Putting Together a Lead List of Customers?

Use the Share & Shop Reports in the Catalog App Manager (CAM) to gather contact information from guests who have used kiosks in your store. Any shopper who has ever sent products to themselves via email or text will appear here.

 

Catalog App Manager Screenshot of Share & Shop

 

Pro Tip: if you have multiple stores under one account, simply sort by “Device” to view the customer contact information that has been collected on kiosks at that specific location.

 

For more detailed information on how to access the customer contact information collected on your kiosk, check out How to Use Share & Shop to See Detailed Customer Data and How to Access Email & Text Message Reports.

 

2. Use your Catalog Kiosk ‘Endless Aisle’ Application to facilitate over-the-phone or email consultations for consumers interested in buying.

You can use your Catalog Kiosk app as a selling tool when working with shoppers over the phone or via email. The kiosk app has built-in features that allow you to:

  • send product information via text and email (and collect the shopper’s information in the process)
  • share entire shopping carts via text and email for approval (can be used to quote items)
  • save shopping carts to revisit them after the customer thinks it over
  • send a financing application link directly from the kiosk for an easy & remote financing solution

There is more information on the above mentioned features after step 3. So, keep reading! 🙂

 

3. For a more in-depth and interactive shopping experience, co-browse with consumers using the Catalog Kiosk Desktop App and screen share.

Create a guided virtual shopping experience with consumers. Furniture is a big ticket item and requires a consultative approach to make sure concerns and questions can be addressed. Take your shopper on a virtual tour of all products in your store – allowing the RSA to direct the browsing experience in the catalog app.

 

Catalog Kiosk Desktop App

 

For more information on how to use the Wondersign Desktop App (Windows/Mac) and screen sharing options, visit: How to Offer Remote Co-Browsing With Your Catalog Kiosk

 

 

As promised above, here’s some more information on some of the built-in features of Catalog Kiosk that make it easier for you to facilitate remote selling.

 

Sharing Product Information via Text and Email

 

In a lot of cases you’re already doing this today. Let’s say you have a shopper on the phone and they are interested in purchasing a new sofa for their home. They aren’t comfortable leaving their home at the time because they prefer to be socially distant, however they would still like the experience of shopping with an RSA to get expert suggestions.

 

Simply use the Send as Text/Send as Email feature to immediately text or email product information, imagery, and dimensions to the shopper while you are speaking with them. Get their feedback in real-time and tailor the conversation and the path to purchase to their answers and reactions.

 

Sofa Product Page with Send as Button Highlighted

The “Send as Text/Email” button is found on the product page next to the product description and specs tabs.

 

Send as Text/Email Form

Enter the customer’s email or phone number depending on their preferred method of contact. In a remote setting, make sure to inform them about the terms – specifically that they give you express consent to send them text messages and emails. Let them know that they can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Oh, by the way, if you would like the Send button on the kiosk to stand out more, read this quick helpdesk article on how to change the color of the button to increase usage.

 

What Will My Shopper See?

If the shopper decides to use text as the method of receiving the information, they will receive a text message with a link. The link will take them to a landing page that has the same images and product information that is displayed in your Catalog Kiosk app.

 

Phone screenshots

 

Pro Tip: to avoid cross-shopping while sharing your product information with guests, hide your pricing and SKUs from the information sent. By default they are both hidden. You can change these preferences in your Catalog App Manager (CAM)

 

For more information about your settings for sharing products via text or email please visit: How to Manage the Kiosk’s Store-to-Shopper Email & Text Messaging Features

 

Save & Share Shopping Carts via Text and Email 

 

Back to our socially distant shopper who’s forced to work from home. They realize that they could really use a new desk for their newly needed home office.

First, use the filter options to narrow the results down to the preferences of the shopper. Let’s say this shopper is looking for a desk made of wood. Use the Material filter and select Wood.

 

Browsing Wood Desks on Catalog Kiosk App

Use the category filter to narrow down the results to desks and use the material filter to further narrow the results to find the wood desks available.

 

Once you’ve narrowed down the results to wooden desks, send your shopper the items you think are the best fit for their home. Add all the items in question to the shopping cart and save the cart. Make sure cart saving is enabled for your devices in the Catalog App Manager (CAM). This setting allows you to save entire shopping carts on your devices, so they can be retrieved later. When working with your customers remotely, saving their carts for later is a crucial piece of the shopping experience.

 

Saved Desks Cart

 

Save the cart with the shopper’s name so when they are ready to call back and discuss their intended purchase, you can easily load and pull up the products that you were looking at earlier.

 

Load the saved cart.

Use the load cart button to retrieve a previously saved cart.

 

Once the shopper has their final decision on the items they would like to purchase, you can share the entire shopping cart with them to get final approval. Letting them look over everything before collecting payment will help avoid any miscommunication on what the consumer is purchasing.

 

Share Shopping Cart Button in Catalog Kiosk App

 

What Will My Shopper See?

If the shopper decides they want the shopping cart sent to their email, they will receive a list of the item names and a small preview image. The item price and SKU can also appear if you decide to have that information available.

Similar to sharing product information, you can control the information shared. To avoid cross-shopping, you can hide pricing and SKUs. To use it for quoting, you would enable pricing for shared carts, but leave SKUs hidden. For more information on hiding SKUs visit: How to Hide or Display SKUs on the Kiosk & in Emails Sent From the Kiosk 

 

Email on a Desktop Computer

 

Pro Tip: Set a reply email address that is monitored. When consumers receive shared products and carts and they decide they are ready to purchase they can find your contact information directly in the message sent from the kiosk. You can check and change these preferences in your Catalog App Manager (CAM) under Device Group Settings.

For more information about your reply email address for sharing products and carts via text or email please visit: How to Set the Reply Email Address for Shared/Sent Products

 

For more information about your overall shopping cart settings please visit: How to Manage the Kiosk’s Shopping Cart Feature

 

Remote Financing Solution

 

To continue business as usual during this pandemic, you need to offer remote financing and purchasing methods. The financing waterfall built into the kiosk app makes it easy to get the financing application process started. Simply enter the consumer’s phone number into the form on the kiosk and they’ll immediately get a text with a link to complete the application on their phone.

 

Apply for financing button in shopping cart

The “Apply for Financing” button can be used with a full cart ready for checkout or can be done at any time during the shopping journey. The button to text the application is conveniently located in the main header bar. 

 

The Wondersign Financing Waterfall allows consumers to complete the application in the convenience of their home and the safety of their own device.

 

 

For more information on the financing waterfall and how to get signed up please visit wndr.ws/finance.

 

Why Not Send the Consumer Over to my Website?

 

  1. Cross-shopping. You are opening up your potential customer to a gigantic marketplace of online competition. While they are on your website, they can easily cross-shop other sites to find a “better” offer.
  2. Lack of control. When shoppers browse on your website, you have no control over the conversation, their shopping journey, or their reservations.
  3. Limited shopping experience. Without an RSA present to provide a true consultation and give knowledgable suggestions, consumers are missing out on a large part of the buying experience typically given in your store. There is no one there to answer questions in the moment or help shoppers find exactly what they are looking for.
  4. Lower ticket size. Online purchases have significantly lower average ticket sizes. Remote selling allows you to suggest add-on items that the consumer may not realize they need when shopping on their own.
  5. You’re losing to the Status Quo. Since there is no real direction or someone available to answer questions and address concerns in the moment, the vast majority of shoppers leave your site without making a purchase.

 

Girl using laptop on the couch

 

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