It sure is a new Retail World out there! So many questions, too few answers. For many years, I have always espoused the sense of touch as one of the more powerful drivers of sale. The pandemic though, has turned this upside down. We now avoid touching anything that may have the virus. As retailers ask how do we operate under these circumstances?
OUR RETAIL TEAM
While retail staff can wear protective gear such as masks and face shields; as well as maintain social distancing and use a plexi barrier at the cash desk, what about our customers?
While some may be respectful of other citizens who play their part in the prevention of the virus spread, some may be reluctant to do so. Do we then turn away these customers when they do not wish to wear a mask? What about those who refuse to line up when the maximum amount of people is in our selling space? Do we also lose the potential sales?
With the absence of government guidelines; the best we can do at this point is to install signage. Ones that educate everyone on the benefits of wearing a mask for everyone’s health -right by your shopfront window may mitigate any disagreement that arise out of this. Inside your selling space, small reminder signs that again reinforce the benefits can only support your cause. Lead by example of course, and as more people see the efforts majority are putting in, they may then be amenable to doing their part in preventing the spread.
HIGH TOUCH RETAIL
What about clothing stores and other shops that sell high-touch products? How can we not allow shoppers to touch or try on the garments? OR will they even want to try anything that touches their skin?
WHAT WE CAN DO
At this point, as we wait for governments to come up with guidelines and regulations, there is not much we can do but implement guidelines that reduce risk of exposure. As this virus is new and continually changing in its behaviour, science has not yet to catch up.
1. Set-up your website to showcase your products and allow for online shopping if you have not yet done so.
2. Allow for curbside pick-up.
3. Review your returns and exchange policies to make it easier for customers to buy from you
4. Invest in products for your store that will reduce virus exposure: from signage, to sanitizers, to protective gear
5. Communicate with your customers, letting them know all the things you are doing to keep them as safe as possible when you re-open
6. Provide customers a reason why they should come in and visit you when your shop opens again. It could be new products for the summer season; items that they may need at home to keep their family safe, etc.
7. Stay in the forefront of technology for products that can sanitize such as the potential of UV light fixture use in your shop. CAUTION: Ensure you do not expose your skin to this- maybe turn on when no one is in the store?
STAY SAFE EVERYONE
LET US DO OUR PART IN KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY HEALTHY