If you’re a brick-and-mortar retail business, you’re facing a holiday shopping season like no other. COVID-19 social distancing and sanitation requirements continue to present challenges for all retail businesses as they move into this peak buying period. This means you are probably considering every possible alternative for retaining your legacy clientele and attracting new customers.
For retail establishments like yours, accommodating the impacts of the pandemic has ranged from reducing hours, limiting in-store foot traffic, creating a contactless shopping environment and more. Additionally, your customers are likely spending more time browsing and buying products online or calling in orders, so both your front-and-back-office practices have probably been altered to field the higher volumes of inbound orders and queries.
Online vs. in-store selling
According to a recent study conducted by Adobe Analytics for its 2020 Holiday Shopping Forcast, online purchasing in early November alone surpassed 2019 activity during the same period by 21%.
This is good news for retail establishments that already leverage the internet to sell goods and services. However, many of these online retailers also operate storefronts, where required changes in occupancy, social distancing and checkout procedures have been even more burdensome and costly.
Boutique stores without a strong e-commerce presence and retailers that rely on tourism to survive are having an even harder time. These establishments have had to impose all the same changes as their larger counterparts but at the risk of losing relationships that have traditionally been a lifeline to their business. As they enter the peak holiday season, they are faced with navigating even more burden as the ongoing reality of continued overhead expenses is magnified by a shrinking, or restricted, customer base.
Reinventing customer interaction
In short, the retail industry has been significantly disrupted in 2020, and this is forcing many establishments to think about what it will take to reinvent. Things like communicating with customers, promoting sales and special inventory offerings and taking payment are all real issues that retailers are examining to survive through the holiday season and beyond.
In-store purchasers are also adding their concerns into the mix.
According to a survey conducted in October by customer service software provider Qudini, consumers visiting retail shops in the United States are most concerned with other shoppers not wearing masks (56%), getting too close to other shoppers (55%), touching products that others have touched (45%) and having to wear a mask themselves (28%).
Prospective holiday shoppers also told Qudini they are concerned about the prospect of waiting in long lines inside or outside retail stores, and 47% of shoppers surveyed indicated they are worried about contracting COVID-19 while waiting in these lines.
This means retail storefront businesses must think fast and consider what measures they can implement to create a customer experience that will retain former customers and attract new ones. Part of this process—for both large and small retailers—is determining a more efficient way to manage communication and payments with customers outside their stores.
This is where texting for business can help.
A quick and effective solution
Zipwhip’s innovative text messaging platform is an affordable, easy-to-implement business communication tool that thousands of retail businesses are already using to interact with customers and provide the best customer experience possible. And now with the addition of TXT2PAY® for Zipwhip, many of these retail outlets have also reduced operational stress points around taking payment for goods and services, have created a more efficient checkout flow and have accelerated their cash flow by collecting payment via text message using the Zipwhip messaging platform.
Konny Zsigo, owner of Park Lake Creamery in Bath, Mich., has been using TXT2PAY® for Zipwhip for several months.
“Customers go online, they check out the menu and they text us. They don’t have to download an app or remember another password. They simply text back what they want, and we chit chat with them to get their order,” said Zsigo. “We send them a payment request and about 90% of customers who text us complete contactless payments via text. Then, we call them to the pickup window when their order is ready. Yeah, it’s perfect.”
The technology boosts safety and security by creating an efficient and totally contactless way for customers to check out and pay for remote orders or over-the-counter services.
Several other Zipwhip retail clients have also leveraged the advantages of TXT2PAY® for Zipwhip to enhance customer interactions, like Orthodox Auto in Philadelphia, Pa.
“The best way that we’ve been able to use TXT2PAY is to fill that void and give us an added layer of security, as opposed to manually taking the credit card information over the phone and having the sales staff manually enter it in themselves,” said vice president of operations Nick Evangelist. “The biggest advantage, not only to Orthodox but also to its customers, is that it’s very easy and efficient. Requests go right to their phone and they’re able to complete the payment.”
Using TXT2PAY® for Zipwhip for your retail business
Contactless payments via texting can help manage your holiday buying surge with ease. Your customers will appreciate your efforts to keep them informed and healthy this holiday season, and it could possibly influence their decision to choose your business over another whose practices aren’t as thoughtful.
Learn more about TXT2PAY® for Zipwhip here. And to learn more about how your business can use texting to strengthen relationships with customers, download our free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers.
If you’re ready to get started with texting for business, you can sign up for a free Zipwhip trial here.