As C19 ramps up across North America, brick-and-mortar retailers are stuck between a bit of a rock and a hard place.
They want their customers to be safe but they also need them to shop.
An additional challenge is that authorized agents in telecom are rarely equipped with reliable e-commerce solutions. As such, a large portion (if not all) of their sales come from brick-and-mortar.
So, how can you consolidate enforced social distancing and the need to keep sales up?
By no means are we in denial of the current health risks associated to human-to-human contact. In fact, we strongly encourage all retailers to take the outbreak very seriously.
This is simply a practical guide on implementing social distancing practices for wireless retailers who still, at time of writing, remain open.
General best practices for booking appointments
First and foremost, all customer communications should be focused on customer service rather than selling opportunities. Ask if your customers have enough data to handle the probable spike in videoconferencing. It shows empathy and can lead to higher engagement rates.
If a customer is willing to transact with you, here are some things to think about:
Curbside pickup: A low-touch alternative to in-store appointments
In our opinion, this is the best way to enable brick-and-mortar sales. Curbside pickup or even a delivery service is a low-touch approach to appointments and many are already seeing success with it.
Best Buy has recently implemented a curbside policy, allowing only employees inside their stores. Wireless retailers can process a transaction over-the-phone and then deliver the device to the customer or offer curbside pickup.
Some considerations that are unique to wireless with this approach:
- How do you ensure a secure verification process for identity and payment?
- How are you handling the signature form for hand delivery?
- What delivery service will you use?
- Do you have hand-held terminals or other devices that will work outside of your stores?
All we can ask for is to be safe and practical
In the end, you have to do what’s practical. The challenge? There's no way of knowing how long this is going to last.
So, if you're forced to close your stores now, how long do you stay closed for? For some, closing a store now means it will likely never open back up again.
The better answer is to be practical in your approach. Schedule fewer appointments, stagger them, commit to extra cleaning, and practice responsible social distancing.
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