Some good news for retailers – customers want to get back in store. Some surveys have shown that customers miss shopping more than they miss going on holiday.
But it’s a challenge to re-open well – in the right way, at the right time. There’s lots to consider. Below you’ll find some issues to work through as part of your re-opening strategy.
If you’d like full assistance developing the right re-opening strategy, Insider Trends has a end-to-end re-opening consultancy package. Click here to find out more.
Keep customer and employee trust front and centre
Trust has emerged as a key driver of sales for retailers. In some cases it’s overtaken price and convenience.
There’s much to consider in terms of what you do, but how you communicate it to staff and customers is also key.
Clear, transparent reporting is crucial. Third-party certification of the cleanliness and practices of your spaces may also help boost trust and confidence.
Identify signposts to keep plans flexible yet focused
Timing is key. Enter too late and you’ll miss sales. Ramp up too early and you’ll face another costly closure and re-opening cycle.
No one knows exactly how the crisis will unfold. Despite this, you can still plan and prepare.
With your team, identify a series of signposts that will indicate how the crisis is developing. Agree what your business will do at each point. When these signposts emerge, you’ll be able to quickly speed up or slow down your re-opening strategy. You’ll be able to pro-actively respond rather than being caught on the back foot.
Consider store features to add, change and take away
How can you adapt stores to make customers and staff feel more confident?
Should you widen aisles, develop one-way systems, put up screens? Will certain store hours be dedicated to vulnerable groups? Will you run temperature checks at the door or insist that customers wear masks and gloves? Should you have changing rooms? Will you allow product returns, or offer a discount if customers agree not to return the item?
There are a lot of simple changes that can be made – the challenge is the sheer number of changes to think through.
Train your staff to support store policies, boost customer confidence – and know that you’re here for them
The actions and attitude of your staff can make or break your store re-opening. Consider what they can do to boost staff and customer confidence in your stores – such as actively offering assistance, enforcing store policies and regularly cleaning spaces. For certain categories of retail, how staff make customers feel will be almost as important as what they do.
Training is also about what staff KNOW, not just what they do differently. Have you made it clear to staff that you value and support them during this time? It’s crucial to make it crystal clear to staff that their safety and welfare is paramount.
We’ve got some fantastic training companies in our network – if you’d like an introduction, just drop us a line at contact [at] insider-trends.com .
Embrace simple and innovative technologies
Technology offers numerous quick wins to make your space covid-ready. You can give staff and customers PPE, install automated doors and touchless taps in bathrooms, and provide virtual queuing systems and self-scanning apps. Dream up other innovations too – we’ve heard of companies develop app-controlled digital screens, enabling hygienic, endless aisle functionality.
Of course, it’s not practical to install everything, but think of everything you could utilise, and then assess which ones will make the biggest difference to your staff and target customers.
Set targets for store occupancy levels, social distancing measures, use of hand sanitiser in-store and more. Measure and monitor these to ensure your spaces are delivering the experience you envisaged.
How to conduct these audits is another factor to consider. It may be simpler than you think – CCTV footage can be reused to assess occupancy levels, and footage captured on staff mobile phones may be helpful for other assessments. Cheap, accessible hardware and software may mean auditing your spaces is easier than you might think.
Get in touch if you’d like free intros to rated companies in our network
Our network is helping retailers develop a variety of solutions. Some of them are adapting training programmes for store staff. Others are installing conventional technologies and developing innovative tech solutions for stores. If you’d like an intro or recommendation, just get in touch at contact [at] insider-trends.com
Creating a robust plan for your business
As always, we’ve done our best to create a ‘one size fits all’ set of tips. But every business is different and needs a strategy tailored to its category, region, channels and audience.
Our store re-opening packages are helping retailers get their re-opening right. And they help them do it quickly – often in days rather than months.
If you’d like help developing a strategy with the perfect timing and actions for your business, get in touch using the form below.
Images courtesy of Insider Trends