It’s unfortunately no secret that in the current COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers across a multitude of sectors have had to close their physical stores. With states instituting “shelter-in-place” or “stay-at-home” directives, retailers that no longer fit into the category of selling essential goods potentially face many weeks, if not months, of store closures. While focusing efforts online may seem like a natural way to go, this alone may not be enough, particularly in retail verticals that require intensive consultation. So, what can these types of businesses do to help drive sales in these tumultuous times?
While we typically look at mobile these days as another “online” sales channel, businesses that predominantly sell in a consultative manner should consider taking a step “back to the future,” and use the phone as it was originally intended – to communicate verbally.
By offering a telephone consultation, these organizations can continue to deploy their employees with their specialist knowledge and generate sales with customers who appreciate personal advice and shy away from buying online. But a secure and simple payment process is also important for sales over the phone.
To be most effective, retailers should easily accept credit or debit card payments over the phone with a seamless connection to their back-office systems. Alternatively, they can send customers a link to the payment option by e-mail after the call. All order data is already entered there during the consultative sell, so that the customer no longer has to go through a time-consuming ordering process. Instead, he only needs to enter his payment data on a secure page, and the order is completed and ready to be shipped. In this way, even customers with little online affinity can contribute to the support of retail businesses and pay securely.
Consider looking at mobile a different way — an “older” way. Conduct the consultative sell over the phone for customers that prefer that while face-to-face is not an option — and ensure your payment processes support this as smoothly as possible.
And for retailers that haven’t sold online yet but are now planning to use one of the many new solutions that have been set up to support local businesses, they should look deeper into the responsive behavior of the options available to them. It’s essential to make sure that their choice will provide their customers with the best user experience possible for their products if users do choose to shop with their mobile device.
Jed Danbury is a vice president at Computop. a global payment service provider. He has been working in the banking and merchant processing industry for more than 15 years.