Here are three things you can do to maintain a relationship with your customers, even when your physical store is closed:

  1. Engage on social media

    Social media can be daunting, although we’re probably not the first to tell you how important it is, especially if you’re looking to replace in-person connections with digital ones. 

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of jumping into social, start small. Pick one channel that you know your customers use. Start by logging on a couple of times a day to post about company news and updates (New cupcake flavor? Received a shipment of a sought after item? Changing your shipping policy?) 

    Reach out to current and past customers to let them know you’ve entered the social scene. Ask them to support your page and ask what kind of content they’d like to see from you. Search on the platform for topics related to your industry and start liking, commenting, and sharing relevant posts. Engage. Engage. Engage.

    The key is consistency - customers want to know you’re there and accecible when they need you so showing up a couple times a day (or even a week) on the platform will do just that.

  2. Virtual meet-ups

    With so many people staying home, everyone is on the hunt for activities, distractions, and virtual social interactions. This is the perfect opportunity to think of some fun online meet-up ideas. 

    This could mean a live stream of a behind the scenes look of how your product is made. It could be a virtual town hall discussing the pros and cons of your next donut flavor. It could even be a virtual meet-up of worldwide donut lovers!

    These can be professionally geared and informational or they can be fun and creative. Either way, publicize it to your target audience through your new social media presence and see where it takes you.

  3. Install a chat widget on your website

    Add a chat widget to your site. We’re not talking about the bots with the generic (and mostly useless) answers. We mean a chat widget that you or your sales team monitors and can provide the same type of personable and customized service your customers are used to receiving in person.

    Have your team use their real names and profile images so that customers know it’s really you! Create basic scripts to get the ball rolling, but let your team channel their creativity and professionalism while responding to chats.

    You can answer questions, give recommendations, and update customers with relevant information. You customers will feel supported and a greater sense of familiarity when switching to your digital storefront.

Having to close a physical store might seem like shutting down any chance of engaging with customers. But that’s not the case! There’s plenty of virtual room for everyone. Think outside the box, be authentic (no bots!), and stay positive.