So, you’re in the process of reopening your retail shop after months of trying to make it work during lockdown. It can be difficult to navigate the new retail landscape after COVID19, maintaining proper safety procedures, keeping your staff and customers feeling comfortable, all the while trying to make sales. So today, we’ll be covering our tips on how to reopen your retail shop safely.
Firstly, check your local guidelines to understand what measures your area has in place.
Every region is different, and may have different guidelines depending on what kind of business you have. Most importantly, before you can reopen your retail shop safely, make sure you’re actually allowed to open in the first place, and if you are, what kind of precautions you have to take to abide by your local guidelines.
Make more space in your retail shop.
Clear the floor to create more room so customers can keep their social distance while shopping. If you have a small retail store, you may not be able to create much more space in your shop. If this is the case, another option is to minimize the number of customers inside at the same time. Require one employee to be stationed at the entrance, and one at the exit if necessary, to keep track of the number of customers coming in and out.
Merchandise your store in a way that allows for social distance.
Have displays far apart, and make wide walkways for customer traffic. If you have a small retail space, it may be wise to keep traffic in one direction. If this is the case, make sure to have proper signage – which we’ll discuss further in a minute.
Make sure your employees are healthy and willing to work.
Train them on the safety measures and procedures they must take, and ensure everyone is on the same page, and feels comfortable and safe working in the shop. Equip them with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Other measures, such as breaks to wash their hands or to get fresh air, may be in order as well.
Communicate to your customers exactly the rules of your shop.
Emphasize the importance of following your store’s guidelines. Make social media posts, issue a press release, send out newsletters – anything to get the word out.
Put up Signage.
Put up signs with directions, instructions, and guidelines all around your shop so all of your shoppers know exactly what to do. These signs should include arrows to guide them around in the right direction, guides on the floor to let them know where to stand while waiting in line or to show how much distance should be between each individual, to help keep social distance and make your shop a safer environment. Tip: brightly colored arrows and signage will make sure your customers pay attention to them. Make sure to verbally communicate these measures as well, in case your customers somehow miss all of your media communication and your signage.
Make it easy to be sanitary.
Have hand sanitizing dispensers in the store. Ideally, at the entrance, exit, fitting rooms, or checkout counter for both your customers and your staff. Make masks a requirement, or give out masks in your store for customers to wear while inside your shop.
Sanitize high-touch areas often.
Places such as the front entrance, the payment processor, or fitting room doors, for example, are places that all your customers will touch, so make sure you clean them often – ideally after every customer use.
Use a mobile POS.
A mobile POS such as the Oliver Go is ideal for maintaining social distance for safe shopping. Not only does it take up less space than a traditional POS, but it allows you to bring the checkout to the customer, so your customers don’t have to congregate at a single checkout location. To read more about the benefits of mobile POS systems, read here!
Minimize the risk of close interaction between your staff and your customers by installing self-checkout stations into your store. Studies find that, in the wake of COVID-19, 87% of consumers prefer to shop in stores that have self-checkout or contactless payment options. Customers won’t shop in your store if they feel it is unsafe, so opting for self-checkout would give your customers the freedom and comfort to make their shopping experience exponentially better.
Similarly, to reopen your retail shop safely, touchless payment methods such as tap, cheques, or EMT are ideal. If you cannot use these options, ensure your staff sanitizes the pin pad after every customer. Cash is the least ideal payment option, but if it is necessary, mandate sanitizing your hands after every payment.
Offer sales through curbside pickup and delivery
Offer curbside pickup and delivery to lessen the physical traffic in your shop. Many retailers offered these services while they were closed, however, you can still offer these services while your business hours are open. It allows more customers to purchase from you, and gives customers another option to shop if they are not feeling comfortable enough to come into your physical shop.
Have customers book individual appointments to come to your store.
If your retail space is very small, or if you can’t maintain required distance very easily, just allow one customer in at a time. Focus on the exclusivity and customer service to really make your customers want to make their appointment.
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