The New Normal: Three Observations For Retailers

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been working alongside (digitally speaking) our clients affected by the recent string of executive orders in Michigan. Here’s what we’ve learned. 

Many retailers were already feeling the sting going into Monday morning. Before Governor Whitmer announced her latest executive order, shutting down non-essential businesses, they’d already been facing over a week of slowing traffic, new rules, and uncertainty. With over a dozen clients affected, we were working the phones, hitting emails, and crafting messaging to keep their customers informed.

We’ve learned a lot about how to create effective, purposeful content that does more than alarm. By communicating a plan, adjusting expectations, and encouraging customers to reach out in new ways, we’ve helped retailers make the adjustment from normal operations to staying strong in this tough business environment. 

Make A Change…And Then Adjust. Using organic channels like Facebook and Instagram, we’ve been able to help businesses inform their followers of exactly what comes next. When the whole world is unpredictable, being able to communicate tangible actions to keep customers safe, accommodate new ways of helping them get what they need, and letting them know if hours or operations have shifted. All of this is novel, and as long as businesses communicate, it’s okay to change things as you learn the new normal. 

Find New Ways To Sell. Restaurants don’t often put a big emphasis on their eCommerce. They sell time at a table, flavor, and an experience. Take-out takes away that time and that experience, which means we’ve had to do more to emphasize both unique offerings and a seamless, frictionless experience to order and pick-up food. For a pizza shop, the infrastructure is already in place. For many local establishments, we worked quickly to implement online ordering, food delivery, and digital gift card sales in just a day or two.  

Be A Part Of Something Bigger. Around the globe, people are working together by staying apart. Social distancing and isolation are a part of a larger effort that is bigger than a neighborhood, a state, or even a country. People take pride in contributing to that effort, even if it comes at the expense of things they love to do. We do it because we care about the person next door. These are the same opportunities local businesses have to work together. By promoting each other, communities can essentially share audiences and encourage the spirit of camaraderie that helps keep dollars local, even if those dollars are now being spent through new online channels. 

To do our part, we’re offering to help local businesses in Traverse City and Ann Arbor to craft messaging and set-up eCommerce on their current platforms. Our time and expertise are what we have to give; let us know how we can help.