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Back to Business: What You Need to Know to Reopen and Grow Communicating new safety measures and processes is the "new normal" for doing business today. Here's how to do it right.
As cities and states continue their phased reopening plans in the wake of the health crisis, restaurants, retail stores, personal service businesses, and more are all taking steps to carefully reopen and keep customers and employees safe. It can be a tricky process but it's important to get it right. The ability to clearly communicate new safety measures and procedures is critical to doing business these days.
That's where FedEx Office comes in. Provider of convenient, state-of-the-art printing, packing, and shipping services, FedEx Office recently launched a new initiative to help small- to medium-size businesses print customizable signs, directional floor signage, water-resistant materials and more. This can include ready-to-print "We are Open" storefront banners and new hours of operation posters, as well directional floor signage to designate how customers can maintain a safe distance from other shoppers.
According to new a survey from FedEx Office, more than 80 percent of consumers and business owners say they prefer to learn about information such as changes in hours, policies and safety procedures via professionally printed signs. FedEx Office has also collaborated with online design platform Canva, which offers millions of images and illustrations, an extensive library of templates, and a simple drag-and-drop interface, making it even easier to create customizable banners, posters, flyers, yard signs or postcards.
Here, FedEx Office Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kim Dixon offers three smart tips any small- or medium-size business can use to clearly communicate to customers that, yes, they are back in business.
1. Remember, trust is fundamental in customer relationships.
While many businesses around the U.S. begin to open again, we're still in a period of uncertainty and so it's critical to instill and maintain trust with your customers.
"Communicate clearly, confidently, and frequently with your stakeholders with printed materials and on your website and social channels," Dixon says. "This ranges from adjusted store hours to the safety measures you're implementing, as well as the precautions you're requesting your customers take when in store, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining six feet of distance from others."
2. Get creative with your marketing outreach.
For your grand reopening, you'll want everyone to know. A restaurant reopening announcement will likely vary from that of a retail store, but all companies rely on marketing to attract business.
And while traditional printed marketing might look a little different while people keep a social distance, that doesn't mean it goes away completely. Take it from Hermitage, Pa.-based Purpose Therapy Box. Founded in 2018 by certified occupational therapy assistants Holly Masters and Ali Izzo-Linton, the company offers subscription boxes for older adults to help prevent loneliness and depression, and ultimately keep families connected. Masters and Izzo-Linton planned to attend a national conference in March and leaned on FedEx Office to print signage like pop-up banners, corrugated signs, brochures, and business cards to use at the event.
Even though the in-person conference was canceled, the pair repurposed the signage to promote their business when participating in Zoom trainings, online conferences, and meetings. "Customers and colleagues have found the signage and print materials to be extremely helpful and beneficial for sharing relevant information about Purpose," the founders say.
Dixon offers some smart suggestions to include in your creative "comeback" marketing campaign:
- Drum up excitement with a countdown on your social media accounts
- Prominently display your reopen date on your website and storefront
- Send a newsletter to your contact list
- Email or send personal invitations to your best customers for your reopening celebration
- Offer an incentive to refer a friend to take part the reopening festivities
- Advertise sales and announce any changes to your business policies or store hours by designing a grand reopening sign, poster, or banner with the FedEx Office online tool
3. Be aggressive and as fast and flexible as possible.
COVID-19 has proven things can change quickly and often. Dixon suggests that business owners continue to monitor their latest city, county, and state restrictions and guidelines to determine what needs to change—and waste no time.
"We saw a lot of restaurants and retail stores shift to curbside pick-up only during the pandemic this past spring and continue to offer the option to customers who feel more comfortable staying in their car as businesses reopen their brick and mortar locations," she says. "We also saw businesses shift their emphasis to products or services that became more relevant during COVID-19 crisis. Be proactive and consider what products and solutions you can offer, and how your business operations may evolve to meet changing consumer demands and the needs of the community you serve."
For Purpose Therapy Box, the ability of FedEx Office to quickly produce their marketing materials has been paramount in their marketing efforts during the pandemic.
"Our print and marketing materials from FedEx Office have been critical to our success and growth because they make it easy to design materials, they are responsive, and they have quick turnaround when we need it most," Masters and Izzo-Linton say.
Click here to learn how FedEx Office can help your company communicate to customers that you are indeed back in business.