The need to shift the location of your store can develop for a variety of reasons: you need more or less space, you aren’t getting the traffic you need, your lease is up, or possibly something else. Although moving your products and possessions can be enough of a challenge, an array of other issues relating to a business relocation can surface.
One of the most vital is maintaining your customer relationships. Below are three tips to help you prepare your customers for the relocation of your firm, if you want to make sure you don’t lose anyone along the way.
Consider your alternatives
Moving to a new business site, especially if you have a large following of customers you suspect may not be enthusiastic about the move, can prove to be more work than it’s worth. Mark Henricks, contributor for Entrepreneur.com, says that if you have been doing business at the same location for many years, you could face a backlash from your customer base and lose a few folks who have been very loyal up to this point.
To prevent this from happening, or at the very least minimize the damage, make sure you research any options that might entail a smaller change. For example. Henricks suggests absorbing a space that adjoins your current location, or moving your manufacturing and distributing departments but keeping the sales location at the old and familiar site.
This may not be an option for many owners, however.
Create a customer plan
If relocating is truly the best alternative for your business over the long run, then there are things you can do to make the transition as painless as possible for your longtime customers. The first thing you’re going to want to do is design a plan for communicating the news to everyone.
Ian Linton of Demand Media, a contributor to Chron Small Business, recommends you make the rationale and benefits of the move very clear to your customers. This information could be vital for maintaining your relationships when you’re situated in your new offices.
Other vital communication you should provide your customers includes contact information that will be effective while you’re moving, reassurance that all orders will be filled and delivered on time, and the location and other store information for your new space. This will all help your customers to avoid feeling abandoned or forgotten during this potentially chaotic time.
One of the most effective ways to ensure your customers follow you to a new location is to offer them incentives. Caron Beesley of the U.S Small Business Administration’s Managing A Business Blog suggests you promote incentives to visit your new location, but with an expiration date so your customers are more likely to stop by soon after the switch.
She also advises business owners to host an opening event in order to draw both returning and new customers to your newly opened location. A grand re-opening party could also be a great opportunity to light a fire under the employees who have shifted locations with you, by giving them the proverbial pat on the back for all their help with this undertaking.
Given a little planning and a lot of love, there’s a high likelihood your customers will stay with you even after you’ve moved to a new place. Try to implement the above tips to give yourself the best chance of finding success in a brand-new location.