Reopen It and They Won’t Come

Say What?

Reopening won’t bring shoppers back, however, making them feel safe, comfortable and secure will certainly make it more likely. A recent study by Slate had some interesting findings on shopper’s general comfort levels with various businesses ranging from dinners at a restaurant, to take a flight, to a visit to the movie theater. In each case, a significant number of people reported being unsure or a flat out don’t know yet if they would visit various types of businesses once they are able. A significant number also indicated they definitely would. The challenge for most businesses, that the narrower group of definites won’t nearly be enough to support their existing cost structures, they will need much broader participation than just the early shoppers. Here’s a great example of where frequent, authentic, and localized content can really help retailers communicate trust to shoppers.

Yesterday I came into our offices at Photofy to work for the first time since March 12th. We haven’t returned to working at our office yet, but I wanted to get a sense of what it would be like, and how we could help keep our employees safe if and when they come back to the office. Like many companies, we found ourselves to be more productive and that our team is generally happier not having to deal with commutes, parking, expensive lunches etc., and that our overall work-life balance has been affected positively since working from home.. Our offices are in a revamped A&P distribution center (ironic, no?) and we have a brewery and a couple of restaurants, Hummingbird and Wilson’s Eatery, in our building. I donned my mask and walked over to Wilson’s to see what they had on special. They have great signage about its ordering procedures, printed single-use menus (I added one to our office wall), touchless payments, and a text to alert me when my order was ready. I ordered a delicious Hawaiian Pizza with Siracha, and a growler of Deez Coconuts Porter. All of the ordering could have been completed by web app as well, I just wanted to see what they were doing to adapt.

You’ve probably seen the controversy around Costco’s decision to require shoppers to wear a mask. People have criticized and praised it alike for its stance. My opinion is that Costco is making a smart business decision to err on the side of safety but perhaps, even more so, to appeal to the uneasy shoppers that are in a wait and see mode. Costco is betting it can be the default for providing a comfortable shopping experience for those shoppers, and gain some converts in the offing. Many businesses can learn from their efforts and over-communicate on ways they are making shopping, dining, and grocery shopping safer and easier.

With the patchwork of rules and regulations, mass communicating the particular details at any given store or location can be difficult. Using an Employee Content Creation (ECC) platform like the one we have created at Photofy can help. By leveraging the real-time authenticity of local employees (via easily created Employee Created Content, #ECC) and their networks, businesses of all types can help shoppers understand how they are managing their COVID preparedness and operations. This local knowledge via that content, is highly effective in meshing with brand content from a brand’s marketing channels, to connect with customers beyond the reach of the brand’s audience alone.

Businesses using the approach have a decided advantage when it comes to volume, reach, engagement and ultimately search results. Spend some time adding ECC to your marketing mix and help your shoppers feel more at ease as the reopening unfolds.