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How to Sustain Any Retail Business During and After COVID-19

June 9, 2020 Trends

Understanding your bottom-line and being able to predict those ups and downs will help you effectively set goals and monitor your brand’s success. What if you were blindsided by the most unpredictable economic event of them all—a nationwide lockdown order to stop an alarmingly contagious virus? 

How to Sustain Any Retail Business During and After COVID-19

For any retailer, knowing the ebbs and flow of your sales revenue patterns is critical. Some businesses have a seasonal cashflow cycle, while other are more consistent year-round. Understanding your bottom-line and being able to predict those ups and downs will help you effectively set goals and monitor your brand’s success. But what if you’re already a savvy business owner who has mastered the art of overseeing and predicting curveballs? And what if you were blindsided by the most unpredictable economic event of them all—a nationwide lockdown order to stop an alarmingly contagious virus?

If you were, then we can promise you one thing, you aren’t alone. Business owners across America were blindsided, unprepared, and ended up scrambling to remodel their operations just to have a fighting chance of staying in some-degree of business. And those were the lucky ones. Many other business owners had the extremely difficult obligation to close their doors, and their businesses, completely.   

The fact of the matter is that no one can tell what our world will look like when we come out the other side of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown measures that have resulted. But one thing really is for sure, we will—eventually—come to the other side of this pandemic. Sooner or later, every state in the country will reopen and businesses will be permitted to officially open their doors again. When this happens, will you be ready? Are you ready now? What are you planning to do, as a business order, to ensure that you will be able to hit the ground running once the lockdown is lifted?

Yes, the current sales period is slow—or nonexistent if you were forced to fully shut down—but that also means it’s the perfect time for you to focus on increasing customer retention and building out your brand community. Dedicating a portion of your time, energy, and budget in this effort will ensure you have customers ready to shop with you once the lockdown order is lifted in your particular neck of the woods. Use the time you have now to successfully build a community of loyal brand advocates who will shop with you for their lifetime, through this pandemic and the next! 

One way to interest new customers, generate buzz, and inspire excitement about your retail store—whether you’re open or preparing to—is by launching a customer loyalty program that shoppers can sign up for immediately. Choosing a customer loyalty rewards program where points are easy to earn and even easier to redeem is a great way to incentivize shopping and retain customers for the long-term. Even if your doors haven’t yet opened, you can still promote a loyalty rewards program, sign up members, and give them actionable steps to start earning points today. By setting up rewards that customers can start working towards today, you can encourage them to post about your store on social media, write reviews online, and otherwise help to get the word out about what they plan on buying, and redeeming, as soon as they can shop freely. 

Offering ways to earn points that’s fast, fun, easy, and entirely digital even before a customer makes a single purchase is a great strategy to inject excitement about your brand and encourage future shopping. Setting up opportunities to earn points even before making a purchase is also an excellent customer acquisition method that will create a lasting, positive impression in the minds of your customers.  

Building upon this idea of jumpstarting the points-earning opportunities, you can also give your customers another reason to shop with you once the lockdown is lifted—issue sustainable promotional campaigns today. If you choose a customer loyalty rewards program like what Loyal~n~Save offers you can set up a limited-time-only bonus points campaign which allocates special rewards points just for signing up. This is a tried-and-true method that empowers you to leverage your loyalty program to increase engagement. By doling out immediate value prior to customers purchasing your products and services, you’ll establish that your business is all about putting your customers first. 

With Loyal~n~Save, you can set up a virtual swag shop—an online store that customers can view via the Loyal~n~Save app and redeem points from at any time, day or night. This is another highly effective option to provoke excitement across your customer base while offering shoppers instant value. Even if your retail store isn’t open and operational, loyal customers can sign up today, earn points immediately for tagging you on social media, and redeem those points in your virtual swag shop, for example. That’s a ton of interaction and engagement with your brand, and it will benefit your business greatly in the long run. 

Here are three more aspect to bear in mind while you strategize your reopening plans:

•    Use COVID-19 as a time to diversify your company and implement experimental strategies that might otherwise be too risky had a pandemic not emerged. 
•    Find the unique benefit that your company has to offer customers with respect to the current crisis, and pivot your brand marketing to focus on highlighting that newfound importance. 
•    Be mindful about your supply chain. Choosing local options, or as close to local as possible, means you’re less prone to shipment disruptions. Plus, you’ll produce less carbon emissions from the distance your products and materials travel.

Although no retailer wants to see their revenue decline, or dry up altogether, slow sales periods are a good opportunity to improve every aspect of your brand, which will help you increase customer retention and improve your relationship with your customers in the long run. And remember, just because your sales slow down, doesn’t mean your community building has to!

This article was written by Loyal~n~Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.
Mira Gibson
Mira Gibson

Mira Gibson is a Loyalty Strategist at Loyal~n~Save where she develops innovative marketing strategies for small businesses. She is a content machine and advocates that marketing consistency and frequency is tantamount to success. She’s a passionate writer, avid reader, and she also manages a political blog in her spare time.