Best practices for reopening your retail store

April 27, 2023

Opening a retail store isn’t as simple as it once was. Whether you’re reopening after the pandemic, or opening your first physical storefront, there are measures all shop owners must take to ensure proper safety. Maintaining health regulations can definitely hinder your daily operations, but by planning right, you can make your store as efficient as possible while also keeping your staff and employees comfortable and safe. Let’s take a look at the best practices for reopening your retail store. 

Keep up to date about your local regulations 

First and foremost, before you start planning you need to know all of your local safety regulations. This will depend entirely on your geographical location, so check in with your local, as well as provincial or state guidelines for non-essential businesses.

Invest in self-checkout

Self-checkout has been steadily rising in popularity, especially after the pandemic hit. Global Market Insights states that self-checkout will surpass 6 billion USD by 2026.

On top of creating social distance between customers and employees, self-checkout also increases the number of checkouts in your store without the need for extra employees. Instead of having an employee for every checkout, one employee can oversee multiple checkout terminals. According to Business Wire, 87% of American consumers prefer shopping at stores that offer self-checkout. It’s not only more efficient for your business, but your customers will appreciate it as well – you may even gain new customers simply because you offer self-checkout. You can stand out from the competition, and give your customers the safety and independence they need.

To learn more about how self-checkout helps your business, click here

best practices for reopening your retail store

Implement contactless payments

To make your store as welcoming and safe as possible, you need to implement contactless payments. Fewer customers are paying with cash and are opting instead for contactless payments such as tap and Apple Pay. 

According to a global survey, 82% of consumers believe that contactless payments are the cleaner way to pay. Not only do they require less physical contact and germ transmission than cash payments, swiping, or PIN entry, but contactless payments are also quick, allowing your customers to get in and out as quickly as possible. Payment processors like PayJunction offer swift, seamless contactless payments for your in-store location and your online store.

To learn more about how to implement contactless payments in your store, click here.

Prioritize safety & sanitizing

In a study by Deloitte, they discovered that 60% of customers and employees find that consistent and visible cleaning efforts are the most important part of the retail experience. Practices such as offering sanitizing stations at the entrance of your store, visibly cleaning the checkout area, card reader, and shopping baskets after every customer, as well as mandatory mask-wearing give your customers the peace of mind to feel safe while shopping once you reopen your retail store.

Likewise, 82% of customers said that they are more likely to shop with companies that are willing to take extra measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. The bottom line is that maintaining everyone’s safety will make both your employees and your customers happy, so don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to sanitization. Make safety your main priority. 

Create more open space

Creating more space inside your store will also help your customers feel more at ease and give them more space to social distance. Merchandise your store strategically to create more open space and wider aisles. This might mean having less stock out on the sales floor. If your storage allows it, you can try expanding vertically by moving your stock to higher shelves. If your budget allows it, expanding your space will allow you to provide more room for your customers and employees without encroaching on your distance guidelines. 

Communicate clearly with signage 

It’s not only important for you to follow your own regulations, but it’s also important to make sure your customers are abiding by the rules, too. Make sure you have the proper signage around your store to indicate to customers what they need to do. Arrows on the floor or propped up in your store aisles will help aid customers around your store, as well as signs reminding customers to keep their distance and wear their masks inside. Having clear instructions on what’s expected of them will make your customers feel more comfortable in your store.

Use a Mobile POS

A handheld or mobile POS such as the Oliver Go is ideal for safely reopening your retail store. A mobile POS takes up less space than a typical POS terminal, giving your retail store more space for customers to social distance. It also gives your employees the freedom to bring the checkout directly to your customers, either on the sales floor, or during curbside pickup or delivery. To read more about the benefits of mobile POS systems, click here.

Continue with curbside pickup and delivery

In case your customers don’t feel comfortable coming into a crowded storefront, you can continue offering curbside pickup and/or delivery. Many businesses offered these options during the lockdown, however, they’re still a great service to offer even during your opening hours. It allows more people to shop with you, without the added traffic in your physical shop. 

Get a Cloud Printer

If you’re operating in-store with an online store or any kind of delivery or shipping option, the Oliver Cloud Printer will make your life easier. The Cloud Printer is similar to a Wi-Fi printer, but instead of transferring data via the Wi-Fi connection, it transfers data through the cloud – meaning you can print from anywhere. The Oliver Cloud Printer also prints off your online orders, so when customers place online orders to be shipped, picked up, or delivered, your receipt can automatically print in your warehouse or stockroom.

Reconsider your return policy

With safety restrictions, you may need to reconsider how your returns are going to work once you reopen your retail store. If customers return their products, the items will need to somehow be sanitized before going back out on the floor. Clothing and other fabric products can be steamed, and boxed or packaged items can be wiped with sanitizer. If you can, leave your returns for a few days before replacing them on the shelves to allow any potential germs to disappear.

You may also need to consider expanding your return time, especially if you are offering items that need to be tried on or tested before purchase, such as clothing or personal care items. To create a safer environment, you may need to close your change rooms, or discontinue samples of your products. For this reason, it might be a good idea to extend your return policy so that customers will have the chance to return an item of clothing they didn’t get to try on before purchasing. 

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