Safe Operations for Retailers post-pandemic

Customer and employee safety are a priority as more states lift COVID-19 restrictions. Retailers across the United States are concerned about safely operating their stores. Dates and criteria vary from state to state, but most expect to be fully open for business by the end of summer. Because of this, specialty retailers are in a unique position to offer a more personalized customer experience when they do return to pre-pandemic operations.

Safely Opening Stores

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a range of information for small business owners:

Each business has a different set of obstacles to overcome, while others may make a few of their recent changes permanent. For most, the information gained from the past year will help inform their decisions for years to come.

Tips for Retailers after Opening Their Stores

Only five states have mask restrictions which means most businesses have been open. Here are some tips to help you improve operations and customer experience:

  • Always Be Communicating

Communication ensures that customers will feel confident in returning to the stores they patronize. Effective communication with customers can be as simple as reminding them of store hours or a shortlist of product availability. Longer health-related messages should be displayed on a website and in-store. More importantly, retailers need to follow their own rules and demonstrate how they have implemented any short- or long-term changes.

  • Employee Training

Employees may still have questions about their role in keeping the store safe. With all of the changes, they may be confused or simply doing what they feel is okay. For small businesses, training best practices should include:

    • Basic Cleaning
    • Hygiene
    • Social Distancing
    • Workspace Alterations
    • Communicating with Customers
    • Reporting

Employees should also be trained on how to deal with angry customers.

  • Get Alerts from Local Government Agencies

Some local governments can send text messages that alert or update recipients on the latest restrictions. Most probably use email. Signing up for either will keep you up-to-date on the latest information.

  • Promotions

Being thoughtful about your promotions shows that you are aware of current conditions and care about how it affects your customers. Digital gift cards and online sales through your website or social media are easy to do and reassure everyone that you’re doing your best to keep them safe.

  • Be Neighborly

The businesses around you are also experiencing the same obstacles as you are. Some may have advice on how to overcome them, while others may need it. People will appreciate it when you and your neighbors have similar policies and procedures in place.

  • Focus on Digital Marketing

The world of digital marketing goes beyond websites and social media. You can find innovative ways to improve communication with your customers at common touchpoints:

    • Receipts
    • Appointment Reminders
    • Anniversaries
    • Service after the Sale
    • Warranty Expiration

You can also create and foster a larger online community through digital marketing, such as newsletters and text messages.

Safely Operating Your Stores

We can all do our part in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 through safe policies and procedures that benefit everyone. As the number of daily positive cases diminish, you can relax those policies while following the CDC guidelines and local government mandates. Your customers will appreciate the efforts you make to keep them safe, and so will your employees.

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