Stuck in a COVID-19 Sales Slump? Use Apps to Connect With Customers

Posted on March 27, 2020

As more U.S. states initiate stay-at-home orders for the general public, non-essential brick-and-mortar store owners have pulled down the shades, shut their doors, and hunkered down at home. Although the current situation is just temporary -yes, things will get back to normal, eventually- traditional retailers are facing a stark, cold new reality: No customers for weeks, possibly months. There's never been anything quite like this in the history of American retail. The same goes for restaurateurs, non-profits, and religious groups. 

The early research is in, and it's seriously depressing: U.S. retail sales were down 0.5 percent in February - and that's before things got really bad. But, there's no need to panic. Until things blow over, traditional retailers just need to find new ways to engage with customers. Soon, stores will pull up their shades and open their doors again...

Now's a Really Important Time to Connect With Customers 

Even if you don't have e-commerce capabilities, you can still use an app to connect with customers. With push notifications, you can send essential information about your store so, in all the chaos, customers won't forget about you.

  • Notify customers about your store closing/re-opening.
  • Tell customers that they can order their favorite products on your website (if this is possible).
  • Discuss your COVID-19 safety and cleaning procedures, and where you source products in your supply chains, which will restore confidence when you open again. 

Quick Tip: Even if customers don't enable push notifications, you can still communicate important messages through in-app notifications. 

It's not just retailers, either. Apps can help business owners in the following sectors connect with people:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Religious organizations 

You might think that app development isn't worth the investment. Things will get back to normal soon enough, so you don't need to bother communicating with customers in the interim. 

Unfortunately, research suggests the opposite. Businesses, in total, lose $1.6 trillion every single year when customers move away from them. Shockingly, 20 percent of a company's customers make up 80 percent of its profits! 

Personalize Content

Apps complement brick-and-mortar retailers because they optimize the customer experience when consumers can't get to stores. Using personalization, you can customize content to boost sales, increase visibility, and move prospects through your marketing funnels. Still not convinced? Retailers, on average, experience a 20 percent sales boost with using personalized experiences, while 59 percent of consumers say personalization influences purchasing decisions. 

Even if you are unable to sell products online, you can still showcase catalog items based on a customer's age, location, interests, behavior, and other demographics. 

Did you know... 79 percent of smartphone users made a purchase online using in the last 6 months?

You might be worried about how the current pandemic will impact your business, but personalized content will keep consumers engaged until you're back up and running again. This personalized content might include customized coupon codes and other promotions that shoppers can use when you re-open your doors: 5 percent off the first purchase, buy-one-get-one-free, a free gift, you name it. 

Keep Customers Engaged at Home

By the end of this week, more than half of the entire American population will be at home, and this number could rise in the coming weeks. With stores, restaurants, and many religious buildings closed, apps let you engage with people until the situation gets better. 

Use your app for essential information exchange during the crisis:

  • Churches and other religious groups can provide users with essential reading material and other resources.
  • Non-profit organizations can tell communities how they are helping the most vulnerable.
  • Retailers and restaurant owners can notify users about their own response efforts. 

Want an app?

Want to create an app that connects with customers during the COVID-19 outbreak? We specialize in app and software development tailored to your unique requirements. Click here to find out more!