ERP downtime: Retail as a Service
Closed stores does not have to mean inactive businesses.
From community building tactics, hands-on product demos, and much more, we cover several ways to engage and sell to new and existing customers using Retail as a Service tactics.
Retail as a Service: getting creative
Below, we outline solutions that can be set up through your Erply account or from your own preferred marketing platforms.
Pickup and dropoff orders
The most common option we’re seeing is the order online, pick up in-store module.
Retailers are taking online orders, then offering the following:
- Curbside pickup
- Socially distanced in-store pickup
- Designated pickup/drop off boxes
- Deliver products to customers
Contact our team to learn how you can set up online in-store pickup orders with your e-commerce platform.
Not ready for e-commerce? The Genius Vault can be used to securely and remotely pay for orders over the phone.
Expand online resources
Just because your customers can’t physically shop in your store, that doesn’t mean they’re not reliant on the services your store provides.
Do your products have multiple uses? Can you find creative ways to transform the functionality of your products? Online video consumption is on the rise, which means it’s great time to take advantage of the expanded audience potential and showcase your products.
From creative projects to health-forward initiatives, there are plenty of ways you can share product expertise with your customers. A good place to start is by thinking: what are your favorite quarantine activities?
- Create product how-to videos
- Give a demo of alternate product uses (5 ways to…)
- Explain how your products can fill in the gaps caused by quarantine
- Show products that promote small, quality of life improvements (baby steps)
Product demonstrations can tie into your webshop to encourage online sales and are a great way to raise awareness for uncommon products.
iMovie, live social media feeds, or even TikToks can be used to reach your customers and show off your product expertise.
Some retailers might take to creating VIP-only content to improve customer loyalty and potentially create an additional revenue stream.
It seems like every day spent in quarantine reveals a new social media trend. More and more people are sharing themed photos and videos, then tagging their friends challenging them to do the same.
You can take a creative spin off of these trends to grow your community of shoppers, raise brand awareness, and learn more about your customers.
- Creative hashtags and profile tagging
- User-submitted content – photos and storytelling
- Social media stories and polling opportunities
People love sharing; figure out how your products can be used in fun and interactive customer social shares.
Some retailers, for example, have turned engaging social campaigns into product giveaways to build stronger customer relationships.
Encourage community communication
This section draws off of the last two Retail as a Service ideas.
Social connection is more important now than it ever was before. While you might not be able to host in-store events, you can take to the web to offer interactive webinars to your customers.
Maybe you’ll host a product demonstration online where customers that own the product can follow along. You can provide step-by-step instructions and tips, then follow up with a Q&A session.
You also may want to consider hosting causal product feedback sessions, sort of like a book club. These can invite customers to share their favorite uses of a product — such as creating a facemask with a t-shirt — in an open forum environment.
Think about the needs of your customers and brainstorm ideas they might respond best to.
You won’t just get a better handle on your customer-base, you’ll also be offering customers a much needed platform to connect and learn from people with similar needs and interests.
Gift card sales
If your store doesn’t already, now is a great time to set up gift cards.
Gift cards provide short-term revenue for your stores while providing long-term value to your customers — not to mention the increased loyalty perks.
Online gift card codes completely eliminate the need for in-store shopping, and can even be redeemed online.
We recommend holding off on gift card expiration dates until stores reopen at full capacity!
Do you have a particularly loyal customer-base? You may want to consider setting up a donation site.
It’s not uncommon to see retailers setting up GoFundMe campaigns or Venmo business accounts to accept customer donations.
We know it can be hard to ask for money during these crazy times, which is why some stores have been offering loyalty points or entering customers into a prize raffle for every X-dollar donation they make.
Even if your customers are unable to provide immediate support, this can also be used as a helpful reminder to shop local when things are up and running again.