Across Europe, the reopening of commerce may give the sense that we are headed back to normal. But for many stores, both B2C and B2B shopping experiences must now operate under new constraints.
For example, this week the Belgian Prime Minister, Sophie Wilmes stated regarding the eased restriction for businesses from May 11th, “Only one customer (is allowed) per 10 m², and only for 30 minutes. It will be strongly recommended that the customer wear a mask, and in any case, the safe distance must be respected.” – Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes. As a result, you may want to provide your customers the opportunity to book a personal shopping appointment.
A safe and Easy shopping by appointment solution
While governments respond to a decline in COVID-19, this does not fully acknowledge the fears and concerns that everyday shoppers continue to feel. Is shopping worth endangering my family? Do I want to feel the anxiety of the new in-store shopping experience? Both questions run through all of our heads when leaving our homes now. As non-essential businesses reopen, the concerns will linger. Only one-third of shoppers feel safe shopping right now, and with no guarantees of return to business-as-usual shoppers are searching for safety and comfort. In a recent article, the New York Times asked an important question: “Will shopping ever be the same?” Understanding the current state of commerce, the customer experience will become an even more vital part of how businesses can bring customers back into their stores.
In our Practical Guide to Ecommerce in a COVID-19 World, you can access a free, ungated resource provided by our experts on topics such as COVID-19’s impact on Black Friday, eCommerce, Cybercrime, and Customer Experience.
One of the best ways to increase customer comfort and safety is through allowing your customers to book personal shopping appointments. This creative approach represents a cheap, easily-implemented, and scalable solution. Through doing this you will achieve a higher level of person-to-person interaction and create a better customer experience that is required during this extraordinary time. The solution extends to meetings or shopping experiences in both B2B or B2C sectors. In this article, we will outline our solution for how to adapt through an easy, safe, and quickly implemented shopping by appointment solution.
Problems Solved through Shopping by Appointment:
For the customer:
- Book a personal appointment in three clicks
- Shop in comfort
- Fast and responsive service
- Up-to-date knowledge of shopping availability
- Terms of store attendance clearly stated
For the business owner:
- A managed flow of customers that follows social-distancing rules
- Improved customer experience
- A schedule that matches your constraints and describes the types of meetings you’ll conduct.
- A portal for clear communication
- A tool that helps understand staffing needs based on demand
Vaimo has partnered with TailorFit to provide easy, low-cost solution development services to businesses and customers. We want to help businesses adopt the best tools to handle this difficult time. You can create a better customer experience by providing appointment dates and times on a digital solution. With our easy-to-use shopping by appointment solution, your customers can simply select a date and time that meets your standards and fulfils COVID-19 guidelines.
How does it work?
No matter what you do – whether running a marathon or running a company – success comes down to speed. That’s why you are guaranteed lightning-fast technology across the board with the Progressive Web App (PWA). Gartner has predicted that PWAs will replace 50% of mobile apps by 2020. With a PWA a customer clicks one link and can begin using it. Despite a powerful technology under the hood, the customer will use a seamless and simple checkout screen where they select the date and time that works best for them. You simply provide Vaimo with a file, containing your store’s availability times. Then, after a quick upload – voilà! – your store is ready to book appointments. With the information provided, the scheduler auto-generates appointment dates and times for future weeks. Vaimo’s shopping by appointment provides the functionality necessary for you to operate efficiently and meet your customers’ needs.
Your Appointment Hub
As a company, you define your slots and how many customers you allow per time slot. In the case above, you are looking at Demo Store 1’s schedule for May 13th, 2020. The manager at Demo Store 1 provided all the possible times that her clerks could meet with prospective clients or business partners. In accordance with Prime Minister Wilmes’s rules, they can only allow 5 customers in their store at once to abide by the social-distancing policies. For this reason, each time slot allows a maximum of 5 visitors. You can apply the solution to 1 store, and if necessary, this option can be increased to 100 stores for bigger brands. Each store location will show a page like the one reflected above.
Who’s the customer who sent a reservation for May 13th from 11:00 to 11:30? Let’s take a look:
As you can see, all of the contact information you need will be presented here. In addition, both you and the customer receive an email after the reservation is made.
From the customer perspective, the process reflects a simple check out. Your customer can enter the site with or without needing to create a profile, giving you more flexibility. Immediately upon entry, the customer chooses between different brands or stores.
Following the selection of brand or store, the customer then chooses between the specific stores they wish to visit. After selecting the specific store, the customer then locates the date and time that they wish to visit the store. After choosing a date and time for their appointment, the customer provides a few pieces of information for their reservation (name, email, phone number). The potential customer completes the process in only a few clicks. Now, you and the customer have an organised appointment to help make your day easier.
How can you use Shopping by Appointment?
You can easily implement our solution into your business’s daily practices. For many retailers, shopping by appointment creates an obvious solution to the social-distancing problem. If only a certain amount of customers are allowed in a store at a given moment, then the repercussions of unlimited time for individual customers and a policy of letting the line grow longer will diminish potential sales. In addition, the use of an online appointment solution gives the manager time to organise staff and properly clean the store.
Creativity can always take you to the next level, and our solution takes away a number of constraints. If you are a B2B business owner, allowing clients to book by appointment can allow you to perform demos and discuss the product in-depth in person. This solution can help you overcome current challenges that limit crucial social interaction.
In uncertain times, Vaimo is committed to providing services that help you adjust and overcome daily challenges. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue improving our shopping by appointment solution.
Founded in 2008, Vaimo is one of the world’s most respected experts in digital commerce on the Magento and Adobe Commerce Cloud platform. As a full-service omnichannel agency, we deliver strategy, design, development and managed services to brands, retailers and manufacturers all over the world.
Our sharp focus, broad experience and deep expertise within B2B, B2C, PIM, Order Management, and ERP integrations make us a key partner for driving success in digital commerce. Our track record of technical excellence coupled with our proven results in helping our clients succeed with business development, digital strategy and customer experience design is proudly manifested in our status as a Magento Global Elite Partner and a 2020 Adobe Digital Experience Solution Partner of the Year.
With local offices in 15+ markets across EMEA, APAC and North America and over 500 employees, we provide an international presence that allows us to cultivate close, long-term relationships with our clients.
If you wish to learn more about using our shopping by appointment tool and other opportunities you can also contact a Vaimo representative here.