COVID-19 has caused substantial changes for both essential and nonessential businesses. While essential businesses have changed their structure, retail stores have shifted to an online ordering system, provided curbside or delivery options for their customers, or, in many cases, closed completely. If you have closed your retail business temporarily to help minimize the spread of the virus, there are many things you will need to accomplish to prepare your business to return to full operation when those orders are lifted.
1. Your Employees
Make sure you are staffed when you are ready to open your doors. Some businesses will reopen with most of the same employees they had before the store closed. Others, however, may need to hire new employees. Make sure your employees:
Know what to expect during their return to work. Some factors, including how much business you can expect, you may not be able to control. Other aspects, including when employees can expect to return to work and how many hours they can expect, you may be able to predict more reliably. Offer employees as much information as possible to help ease that transition.
2. Your Goods and Inventory
Look at the goods and inventory for the store and stock up on your Summer/Fall inventory now. If current inventory has become outdated, we can help you liquidate old inventory. Keep in mind that customers will be looking for low prices in the aftermath of the COVID-19 shutdowns more than ever–and you want to make sure that you can deliver on quality and price without sacrificing margins.
Shipping from many manufacturers remain delayed 10-30 days. If possible, look for alternative suppliers to help you fill your stock. Call us if you need any assistance moving inventory fast or selling out the bare walls at 303-333-4453.
3. Store Cleaning
While the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to survive on surfaces inside your store for the duration your store has been closed, you still want to provide a clean, tidy store that is free of any potential germs that could infect your employees and your customers. Dust off shelves, wipe down counters, and disinfect surfaces throughout the store, especially those that see heavy use when your customers are in the store. Not only will that help your store look its best, it may substantially increase customer confidence.
For clothing and shoe stores, you might consider the follow options:
- Ask customers to request items be pulled of racks by an associate vs the touching items.
- Fitting rooms should be closed until further notice. Shoes may be tried on if sanitized immediately after and left to be re-shelved by an associate after 3 day waiting period.
- Returns can be dropped off at store and placed by the customer in designated area with receipt attached. After a 3-day waiting period for virus to no longer be on surface of item, store associate will then contact customer to process return or exchange over the phone. If this is not possible- do not allow returns at all.
- Clean/steam all items daily.
4. Your Customers
Customers may still be uncomfortable with the idea of being around a lot of people when you first reopen–and they will certainly still need you to take steps to help keep them safe and healthy. To help increase customer confidence:
Keep hand sanitizer by check-out areas and hand wipes by baskets. These simple steps can help customers feel safe as they come back into your store.
Have an associate stationed at door to open and close door for customers entering and exiting the store. (if applicable)
Maintain social distancing practices. Encourage social distancing with wait lines or labels on the floor in busy areas of the store. If necessary, limit the number of people inside the store. You may also choose to continue to offer options like curbside pickup, which may allow vulnerable customers to continue to shop at your store without needing to expose themselves unnecessarily.
GA Wright Can Help Turn Your Old Inventory into Cash Fast!
Are you ready to start planning your promotional sales and getting your store ready to re-open? GA Wright can help if you plan now. We will assist you in putting together promotional sales once your doors are once again open for business, increasing your overall sales and profitability in the aftermath of this crisis. Contact us today to get started.