Amid rising safety concerns, hours, business models and service offerings are changing. If your business is affected, here’s what you can do to retain customers right now.

Globally, major retailers and local businesses are adjusting their opening and closing hours as cities enact social distancing and shelter-in-place policies. This has caused many companies to pivot and think of new ways to retain customers.

Thankfully, there are still remedies businesses can take up to keep customers engaged during these changing times. Here are a few tips we suggest if your business hours have been altered.

Strengthen communication with your customers

Be upfront about the services you are offering and any updates to your working hours. 

Offering same day delivery or curbside pickup? Let your customers know their options and how best to make their orders.

Take advantage of your social media channels to share this information, use your email list, your website, and update your store opening and closing information on Google My Business

Above all, make sure your online store’s shipping policies are clear and that your inventory is up-to-date. 

Promote your gift cards

Offering online gifts cards can be a good short-term solution, especially if you’re a local bar, restaurant or cafe. 

For one, it gives you cash in the bank immediately. And it almost guarantees that the customer will return and potentially buy more than the allotted gift card amount. 

The nice thing too is it’s just another form of online shopping. You can even partner with major delivery services to accept your e-gift cards as a medium of payment.

Leverage discounts to retain customers

If your business model permits it, there is no better time than now to ‘lockdown’ customers by offering them long-term discounts. 

For instance, if you run a service-based business, you can offer discounted membership fees for when things get better. 

Similarly, if you have an eCommerce store, you can offer discounts on necessary items like office supplies, pet food or bath products. It’s vital to really think about what you’re discounting and not just going along with the pre-made plans you set. 

Show empathy and understanding now, and you’ll likely get a customer to return at a later date because of your actions. 

Take your services digital

Does what you do or sell translate into the digital realm? Or will it be helpful for people?

Personal trainers, tutors, and therapists are taking their services online and offering them through free digital platforms like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom. 

If your service or business isn’t suited to this model, then consider getting a Vimeo channel that will allow you to send in-demand videos – like how-to or DIY videos –  to customers for a small fee (or even free, if you can afford it). 

For some of you, taking your services online won’t be an obvious solution. It may take a little original thinking, but we’ve seen all kinds of creativity on this front, from stylists offering online haircut walkthroughs, to petting zoos offering educational classes for kids. Just think about what else you have to offer.

The important thing is to continue engaging with your audience, whether offering paid services, advice or just a laugh.