Retailers: How to communicate to your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Published March 23, 2020

Chances are, your stores have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether it’s government-mandated lockdownssocial distancing precautions or a change in hours or fulfilment processes, the way retailers operate right now is likely changing.

We want to help you stay informed and connected—and help you do the same for your customers and stakeholders. Here are a few ways to communicate during this challenging time. 


Cleaning procedures

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the coronavirus is contagious. So even if you’re delivery-or curbside-only, consider telling your customers how you’re sanitizing your store, including product, storage and shipping areas. 

Check online for new, recommended cleaning standards and let your customers know about any adjusted cleaning procedures.

Read NCR’s POS and self-checkout hardware cleaning guide


Opening hours

Are you open? Are you closed? Do you have special hours saved for at-risk populations? Have shipping times slowed? Let your customers know on social, online, mobile or by email. If you’re delivery-or online-only, let them know how to get in touch to get your products in their hands. 


Community care

Chances are that you have regulars who frequent your stores, whether online or brick and mortar. Consider offering free delivery to at-risk populations, or consider bicycle delivery for locals. Put up signage and add a notification to your online ordering page and mobile app to let customers know what’s available.


Stay in the know

Social requirements are changing moment-to-moment right now, and it’s important to keep up on any news about regulations. Add this information to your app, online ordering site and email campaigns. 


Ask for feedback

When you talk to customers, ask them how you can serve them. Ask how you can make this time better, communicate better or establish better service. Consider using your consumer engagement platform and social channels to offer coupons for future service or other rewards for their feedback. 


Communicate clearly

No matter what your usual brand tone is, now is the time to be empathic but clear in your communications. If you are sending an email about COVID-19 updates, state that in the subject line of your email. 


Help your team communicate, too

Empower your team to find information, help customers, promote the business in creative and on-brand ways and serve the community. Keep them in the know with any information that pertains to them, your restaurant or the community, and make it easy for them to find updates.


Get creative

How can you rethink your retail experience right now? Your product or delivery offerings? How can you reallocate your labor? Find out what your customers are looking for, and try to figure out a way to offer it. Then highlight your new options on your social channels, online ordering site or by email.


Explain your returns process

As many retailers are reducing hours or temporarily closing altogether, consumers still need a way to return merchandise. Some retailers are extending their deadline for returns. Communicating an extended returns window can help drive loyalty.


Use trusted sources

In a time of uncertainty, NCR is ready to help

NCR is committed to helping retailers of all sizes navigate the many challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak. For more information, please contact NCR.

Our retail solutions experts are in the trenches with our customers, working hard to help provide guidance, solutions and recommendations.

You can find us at us call you back, call us in the U.S. at 1-800-CALL-NCR or call outside of the U.S. at 1-937-445-1936.


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