Lifting Lockdown: How Signage Can Help
As the UK Government slowly begins to lift the restrictions placed on us during lockdown, businesses are gearing up and getting ready to start welcoming customers back through their doors. It is an exciting time, but with the pandemic far from over, there are serious challenges that businesses must overcome to get back into the swing of serving client and making money.
With many guidelines being put in place, businesses are faced with the task of rebuilding consumer confidence and communicating what is being done to keep people safe during this time. As some businesses remain closed, those opening will also need to generate awareness that they are open for business.
In this guide, we highlight some ways that using quality, professional signage can help businesses get back on their feet as lockdown is lifted.
The first challenge that your business will face once reopening your doors is letting your current and potentially new customers know that you are back and open for business.
The best way to do this will depend on the specific business you are running and the audience you are trying to reach. Advertising availability is likely to follow a multi-channel marketing approach to cover all your bases.
If your customers are likely to pass your premises regularly such as cafés, restaurants or bars, then using signage is a creative way to notify and encourage people to come back and spend money with you.
Using this method of promotion is especially effective in a time that many businesses will be using digital channels to promote themselves. This can lead to digital fatigue in your audience, leading to much lower engagement in things like social media ads. Using well designed and well placed outdoor notice boards can help you cut through the noise and grab people's attention.
As people begin to return to visiting businesses, notice boards will a key way to generate awareness and drive footfall into your premises.
Building Customer Confidence
Never before have businesses needed to put so much effort into making their customers feel safe and comfortable. All businesses that reopen will need to follow government guidelines to keep both customers and employees safe whilst on their premises. Many businesses will also take additional measure to make sure that customers can be fully confident upon their return.
Safety is currently so important to consumers that it is likely to become a competitive edge for those who adopt the safest measures. However, unless your customers are made aware of the additional measures that you are taking, there is unlikely to be any benefit in terms of consumer confidence.
Using signage around your premises will help you highlight the measures you are taking to keep your customers and staff safe. This can be as simple as creating posters highlighting the cleaning schedules you have adopted or protective measures you have taken behind the scenes and displaying them clearly in poster frames for customers to read.
The same messaging may also be included in your digital marketing such as social media. This will allow you to provide a level of information and confidence to customers who are considering visiting your premises before they are actually on site.
Communicating the New Way
As key protective measures such as social distancing remain in force, businesses like shops, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants are likely to find themselves operating in a new and unusual way. This may include the introduction of new ways of queuing, making bookings and reservations and offering things like table service to limit contact between customers.
This can be especially confusing for your current customers who have become accustomed to acting in a particular way when they visit you.
When introducing customers to a ‘new way’ of doing things, you must ensure that what is expected of them is very clearly communicated. One way to do this is brief staff to explain to customers what they need to do. However, in the heat of battle, this can often lead to a communication failure. It may also involve your staff getting closer to customers than they should when communicating what they need.
Using clear signage is a smarter way to introduce your customers to your new, safer way of working. These signs should be located in a space where they can be clearly and safely digested. If you deal with older customers, you may also want to make sure that any signage uses large fonts which they will find easy to read.
Creating Physical Barriers
Using physical barriers is a fool-proof way to ensure that safety measures are adhered to by any customer that visits your premises.
For example, if you are opening a coffee shop that is focusing primarily on take away drinks, you may need a safe queuing system for those waiting on the pavement outside your premises. Using barriers, you will be able to lay out where people need to stand, whilst also creating a safe barrier between them and other pavement users.
The same coffee shop may also choose to reintroduce a seating area for their customers once restrictions are lifted. To ensure that a safe distance is kept between tables and staff, they may use a series of café barriers to define the outer limits of a socially responsible distance.
These barriers can also double as a branding exercise and when used outside of your premises offer a clear sign to customers that you are open for business.
There is a lot for businesses to think about as they begin to reopen their doors as lockdown eases. Those businesses that take the time to consider how they will work in a way that is safe and encourages consumer confidence are likely to benefit significantly.
However, logistics and building customer confidence is just one element of successfully reopening your business after lockdown. You must also take the time to get in front of your audience with the clear message that you are back in business.
It may take a little time for business to pick up after restrictions are lifted. However, by following the guidelines we have offered in this article you will position yourself well for success.