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Engaging Diners and Shoppers in the Age of COVID

We’re a year plus into the pandemic. It almost feels odd to even say that. Although we are seeing promising strides with COVID metrics, easing restrictions and vaccinations, there is still the element of the unknown. One thing is for sure: shopping and dining will never be the same. Consumers are now planners and much more deliberate in decision making. Here are a few tips to keep your customers engaged:

  1. Connected. All the Time.
    We are on our tablets and phones now more than ever. That means consumers are spending extra time on your website and scrolling through your social media feeds (not to mention watching stories and reels). Now is not the time to cut back on social media – it’s one of the best tools at your disposal to maintain relationships with your customers. Create your strategy, be authentic and focus on putting out engaging content on a regular basis. Felicetti Pasta always has us drooling with their Instagram.
  2. Updates Are a Priority
    Things change quickly, so make sure key business information (hours, specials, menus and so on) is updated on your website, social channels, Google, Yelp – everywhere your business can be found. Sure, your hours are correct on Instagram, but my mom is still on your Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in two months. There is no such thing as over communicating right now. We saw this last year with the retail tenants and restaurants Waverly, Promenade on Providence and Berkeley Mall needing to keep people updated on business hours, closings and re-openings, restrictions, COVID policies and cleaning, curbside pickup, etc.

    Since we’re in the process of opening back up, people still want to know how your COVID protocols are changing and/or hours or policies.

  3. Contactless Isn’t Going Anywhere
    Karen may be all about going out, but her husband is not. Everyone has different comfort levels and that’s okay. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in 2021 and honestly, that may be the new norm moving forward. Give consumers options: curbside pickup, contactless payment, online ordering, QR code menus and virtual offerings and make sure it’s user-friendly and current. Some shoppers may prefer virtual consultation sessions to reduce travel time so don’t throw that option out the window.
  4. Incentives Drive Business
    It’s probably the last thing you want to hear after this challenging last year, but rewards still motivate consumer behavior. Customers are more careful with how they spend their money and also like to feel special. A reminder: incentives don’t have to be anything extreme or break your budget. Check out Sabor’s lineup of specials throughout the week, from drink specials to a kids eat free night- there’s something enticing for everyone and frequent diners can accrue points to redeem for free food.
  5. Consumers Want Something (Safe) to Do
    We’ve watched everything in existence on Netflix and read the entire Internet – we are desperate for a new activity. Special events and programming, whether virtual or in-person, fill a need right now and also bring customers to your business. The Spring Movie Series at Promenade on Providence is a great example.
  6. Shine a Spotlight on Best Sellers
    Your hot items are hot for a reason – they’re why your regulars love you. They drive new customers to your business. Make sure those fan favorites are always available. Show them off front and center in your store, menu, website and social media.
  7. Safe Space: You’re on Their Side
    Remember a year ago when your inbox was flooded by businesses letting you know just how important your safety is and it’s now their top priority? Those messages have quieted down and, in some cases, flat out disappeared. We all still want to feel safe; that hasn’t changed. Reinforce what you’re doing. Steak 48 does a good job with this on its website. Remind consumers you’re still there for them.

    Need help marketing your business or laying out your digital and social media strategy? Contact us!