5 ways for local businesses in the service industry to find new customers
COVID-19 has changed businesses in all sectors of the economy. But no one was more directly impacted than the service industry. Retail stores, restaurants, bars and other service-based businesses have been strongly hit by the pandemic and economic shutdown.
More than any other group, the service industry has had to reexamine their business models and make the appropriate adjustments. For many, this means attracting new clients, customers and shoppers.
Through creativity, flexibility and a willingness to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, businesses are successfully attracting new customers.
5 Ways the service industry is trying to attract new customers:
Shifting more towards serving the local community
In the past, tourism was a major player for the service industry. A large portion of revenue came from people traveling through cities, staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. Travelers are usually spenders, and their dollars can drive everything from bars to retail stores.
But with travel on a sharp decline, and total numbers expected to be far less than previous years, the service industry is pouring more effort into the local community. They are advertising locally and offering services such as carry out and delivery, which are more commonly used by local customers. Appealing to the local community is one of the main ways that the service industry will keep itself afloat through the summer of 2020 and beyond.
Offering online ordering
Online ordering increases convenience while reducing the total time in your business, which can make people feel far more safe and comfortable. Even if they have to physically travel to your store, having online ordering allows them to come in, pick up what they need and leave; less time in the store and less time to touch surfaces. It’s a win-win for anyone concerned about spreading the virus.
Communicating more than ever before
“Is the local pizza restaurant open?”
“What are the hours for the clothing store?”
“Does the grocery store have online ordering?”
In the past, people could assume you are open and simply head to your location. But with some businesses open, some closed and others offering only limited services, people want to be completely certain that a business can meet their needs before leaving the house.
This means you need to over communicate to attract new customers. Let people know about your hours, availability, services and other details by communicating as much as possible. Tell your customers if your dining room is open or if it’s carryout only. Let them know when you close, and what days you don’t open at all.
If people can’t find the information, they may not risk wasting their valuable time to come to your business. Fortunately Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website and other resources can be used to thoroughly communicate the information your new customers need.
Focusing marketing efforts on delivery
As we discussed above, service-based businesses are readjusting their efforts to focus more on the local community. An important part of this effort is delivery, which is often more popular among locals than tourists and travelers. People staying in a hotel room usually want to get out and enjoy some space; people at home often want to…stay home!
And it’s not just restaurants that are offering more delivery. Retail stores and service-based businesses are also adjusting their business plans to meet the needs of customers who want to stay home.
Teaming up with complementary businesses to bring in fresh customers
Businesses can also attract new customers by partnering with other local companies and organizations, especially ones that are complementary to their own. A perfect example is a bar and restaurant near each other. They can offer discounts for drinks at the bar and meals at the restaurant, helping both attract new customers.
A clothing outlet and a shoe store could work together, or a hotel and a restaurant could create a dual discount. There are countless possibilities; if you think creatively, you can come up with a few ideas for potential partners in your area.
Long after the COVID-19 crisis, there will be a need for businesses to attract new customers. Use these tips and like many other organizations in the service industry, you can get through the pandemic and thrive in a post-coronavirus world!
About the AuthorMore Content by Tom Quinn