Opening your store during the Covid-19 Pandemic

August 24, 2020

outdoor sign covid 19 messaging

Flash back time...

You are driving down the street trying to find parking so you can run in to a store. There are tons of people walking along the sidewalks with shopping bags, a coffee in one hand, a phone in the other. Three people just walk out of one small shop, while another person walks into another. Then you spot it! Somebody is pulling out of a spot! You turn on your signal and wait for them to pull out before you pull in. Without a second thought, you get out of your car, lock the door with your key fob, and make your way to the storefront you came here for because of course it's open. Right?

Snap back to today's reality...

That same street is no longer full of people and there's a dozen open parking spots. You have to drive slowly past the window of the store you're going to. "Are they open?", you ask yourself. Maybe you see some kind of printed note with size 14 font taped to the front window. What does that mean? Are they open? I can't even read it. Now I have to get out and look. Forget it you say...I'll check out another store down the road. 

Now pretend that this is your store. It's your accounting office, your hair salon, your gift shop, coffee shop, or realty office. It's not you that is driving down the street wondering if something is open…it's your customers wondering if you're open. Did you survive the economic disaster from covid? Did you have to close down because one of your employees had covid? Are you losing your customers or missing out on that new customer?

A sales strategy as old as sales itself; the more opportunities you have, the more you succeed.

The challenge in current times is opportunities. And for small businesses with local store fronts, those opportunities come in the form of traffic. So how do small stores capture as much of the available traffic as possible.

The good news is that this is relatively simple and involves two main elements.

Communication and Confidence in safety.


Send out newsletters - you have a company directory whether through email addresses, customer addresses, or phone numbers.

Get on the phone and follow up with previous customers to see how their last purchase is working out. Do they have questions? "Oh, I wasn't sure you guys were still open! Yes! We love the bike that we bought in March! I was actually wondering if you all have and other tires though that are better suited for those limestone trails?"

Send out emails or postcards to your customers - "Hello! We're open and we miss you! Come check out the new line of shirts we have!"

The great thing is that these don't have to be complicated. The entire point is to let everyone know that you are open for business and really miss your customers.

Social media - Get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever social media platform is out there! Create communities for your business. Post a lot! Post pictures of your store. Encourage the people that are in your store to spread the word.

Google My Business - Google is really kind of awesome when it comes to local businesses. At the end of the day, every single local business with a store front should have a Google My Business page. It drives local traffic, allows your store to show up on google maps, and is a free way to communicate your status, hours, contact info and more.

Signs, signs, and signs! - We've covered the overall strategy on reaching out remotely but what about the customers driving or walking by? This is where good signage comes in.

Don't make existing or potential new customers guess if you're open. Make sure that they know from a couple of blocks away. There are so many options available and many of them offer complete customization in regard to messaging.

If some of this outreach/marketing stuff feels overwhelming, look for that local marketing agency down the street or reach out to us - we are more than happy to help!

Do your customers know your store is safe?

No matter your personal feelings on covid or facemasks, your customers need to know if you are looking out for them. If you aren't looking out for their safety, then why in the world would they trust your company? If they don't trust your company, why would they spend their hard-earned money there?

Duct tape X's on the floor technically work but is the goal to show that your company is just doing the minimum?

What would feel better about seeing when you walked into a store? X's with tape or something colorful and clean?

Think about the stores you've visited so far. How many have had a black and white printed paper taped to the front window saying that face masks are required? Does it inspire confidence?

Wouldn't something like this inspire more faith in your safety?

Think about the banks, hair salons, or stores where people might be side by side. What have you seen so far? We worked an accounting office who was struggling with their waiting room seating. The owner noticed that people weren't sitting down if someone on else was already seated despite the fact that there were multiple open chairs. He was really concerned when clients started leaving and then calling to cancel appointments. He wasn't sure how to solve this, so we had him send us some pictures of his waiting area and we proposed some Voyager Kiosk Dividers.

Since installing them between every third chair, he hasn't lost another appointment due to his waiting room. 

Ultimately, portraying safety to your customers is crucial right now. Some might think this covid thing is overblown or not scary but there are ton of people who are terrified. Don't lose customers simply because didn't know you were even open or don't feel safe.

We have so many options available to help you with both but if you aren't sure where to start, the best solution, or don't see something in particular...let us know!

Stay Safe. Stay Open. Thrive.

D3 Portable Displays, Inc.