They say that people grow under pressure. Well, 2020 has taught us that this holds true for businesses around the world, too. This year business owners had to re-learn and reimagine the way they approach their retail strategies as well as the ways in which they offer their services. What may have started off as temporary changes will likely become more permanent as businesses recognize ease-of-use and convenience associated with these “pandemic trends”.
So lets dive into pandemic retail strategies we believe should be here to stay:
1. Going Digital
While the world has been gravitating toward going fully digital for many years now, the pandemic has lit a fire and a sense of urgency under this advancement. From an optical practice’s perspective, providing patients with exam results, recommendations and prescriptions online is beneficial for both the patient and the practice. The practice benefits because their staff does not have to be tied up pulling records. The patient benefits because they do not need to take the time to visit a physical location for their latest eye prescription.
2. Curbside Pickup
When the pandemic began, most people thought of “curbside pickup” as a quick fix to a problem that would go away in a matter of weeks. Well, turns out the pandemic is lasting a little longer than we thought, which means curbside pickup has become an integral part of many people’s lives. Some forward thinkers like Nordstrom have provided curbside pickup for as long as we can remember, and now it’s time for other retailers to catch up and make it a permanent service. Optical retailers can provide curbside assistance with prescription pickup, glasses repair, shopping for accessories, etc.
Curbside pickup is an inclusive and overall friendlier option for the elderly, disabled and those with children.
3. Text Marketing
Text or SMS marketing is the future, and the future is now. While we plan to go deeper into text marketing for optical practices in a future post, we want to touch on why text marketing has become so integral to your optical business’ marketing strategy this year and why it will be essential moving forward. Brands are interested in creating direct relationships with their consumers now more than ever. Beyond this, Apple and Google have confirmed that there will be big changes coming. Advertisers will no longer have access to cookies and other tracking alternatives in order to serve ads to their defined audiences. In layman’s terms, it is going to become a lot more difficult for brands to identify their target users and advertise at them. Hence the reason for brands opting to develop direct relationships instead.
Aside from the reasons listed above, text marketing provides significantly better open rates when compared to its outdated contender, the e-mail. On average, 98% of brand texts are opened while an average of 20% of brand e-mails are opened — this is a significant difference that deserves your attention.
4. Contactless Payments
It’s only a matter of time until contactless payments become the new normal. During this pandemic, you have likely noticed payment methods changing quite a bit. Apple is to thank for pushing along smartphone payment technology in the form of Apple Pay. This method is now a widely accepted form of payment. Google Pay has also followed suit. Apple and Google use RFID technology to make these wireless payments possible. RFID technology has also become widely integrated into credit cards by most major financial institutions. RFID makes it easy to skip the step where you have to stick your card into the machine worrying you may pull out too soon or too slow. There is quite a bit of value in providing your patients with quick, convenient solutions especially when at least some of your competitors are likely already is offering such services.
Contactless payment can look very different based on the type of solution your business is looking for. Companies like Target have their own app for payment. Other business make it easy for customers to pay invoices ahead of time, prior to picking up products to avoid close contact with the reception team. There are endless possibilities when it comes to integrating convenient payment methods into various types of businesses.
Have you noticed any pandemic trends that may become a part of your arsenal of services moving forward? We would love to hear about it and share with others! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.