As coronavirus-related restrictions gradually begin to ease across the country, many small businesses are looking forward to getting back to business. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty around how to re-open safely, how to adapt to new public health regulations, and how to begin recouping weeks or months of lost revenue.
If these questions are on your mind, you’re not alone! Community support is key to rebounding from this crisis — and your local PostNet center is here to help you navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times. Read on for guidance to consider as you begin planning your return to business.
After a long closure due to the COVID-19 crisis, it may be tempting to think that re-opening will be as simple as flipping that “Closed” sign back to “Open” and watching your customers come flooding back in through your doors. Unfortunately, it may not be that easy. The first step is to make sure your customers know you’re open again!
Many regions are taking a phased approach to re-opening, leaving consumers confused about what types of businesses are allowed to open at what times, and under what conditions. That’s why communicating with your customers is crucial. Displaying a big, bold “Grand Re-Opening” banner above your storefront and a sandwich board sign out front will make it immediately obvious to any passersby that you are indeed back in business.
Other ways to get the word out include posting or handing out flyers, placing ads online or in local publications, and sending direct mail campaigns. If money is tight, consider organizing a co-op Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign with other local businesses — for example, if you are in a strip mall and other businesses are opening around the same time, you can all pitch in for the costs of designing, printing, and mailing your piece to every home on a nearby postal route.
An additional challenge most businesses face upon re-opening is how to adapt to new public health regulations. Many areas are allowing businesses to open back up only if they are able to adhere to social distancing rules. This might mean limiting the number of customers allowed inside, offering only curbside pickup of orders placed online or over the phone, requiring masks to be worn by employees and customers, or directing the flow of movement in your store to avoid crowding and maintain six-foot distances.
It can be intimidating or stressful to imagine how it will work to enforce and adapt to these new rules. Keep in mind that this is the “new normal,” and most customers will be understanding — as long as they know what is expected of them. Clearly visible signage is key to communicating these practices.
PostNet can help you print signs explaining curbside pickup procedures, mask requirements, social distancing guidelines, and anything else you need to help your business adapt in an orderly and professional way. Slip-resistant floor decals are a great product to help direct customers in line to stand six feet apart. We can even print signage and other materials on waterproof synthetic paper products that can be washed with sanitary solution!
It’s important to understand consumer mindset as you prepare to reopen. Many people are anxious and unsure of exactly what the future will hold. Although almost everyone is eager to get back to “normal” life, people are also very concerned about rushing into reopening. Some are grieving the loss of loved ones. Therefore, you’ll need to be sensitive to the complicated emotions that your customers are dealing with.
Projecting positivity will offer your customers a welcome break from depressing news stories and their own anxieties — but it’s important not to be flippant or ignore the reality of the pandemic and the hardships it has caused people. Displaying signs about your cleaning procedures and safety measures is a great way to communicate that you are taking the situation seriously and help them feel safe in your store. Then, you and your staff can focus on creating a warm and friendly environment that will keep customers wanting to return.
And of course, everyone loves a sale! Advertising a free gift to the first 50 visitors to celebrate your reopening is a great way to motivate customers to shop again. And targeted promotions, like offering a discount to healthcare professionals or other front-line workers, will help show your appreciation to these individuals while also building goodwill from your community.
Need help designing and printing marketing materials and signage to ease your transition back to business? We’re always here to help. Visit your local PostNet center or contact us online to get started!