Are you wondering how to keep your brick-and-mortar store afloat amid the corona pandemic? In this article, you will learn how to make your business survive as well as thrive during these tough times. As per the federal guidelines, physical stores operating amid the corona crisis will need to follow certain rules to prevent the spread of the virus, both for the store staff as well as shoppers. The rules have changed, unlike normal times.
Your staff needs to stay safe from the virus so that you can operate your store effectively even during these challenging times.
According to an article published on https://www.forbes.com, customers can stay safe by reducing their shopping time and visit the store early in the morning to avoid the crowd. Here are a few useful ideas to keep your brick-and-mortar store afloat amid the pandemic:
Mike Giannulis explains the importance of adhering to government guidelines
You have heard much about maintaining social distance, something that often perplexes individuals. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), social distancing is about people restricting their personal interaction with others to prevent community transmission.
When you have your store open, make sure that you have proper markings, which means a distancing of 1.5 meters to minimize in-person contact for your store employees as well as buyers. The markings will help your shoppers know where exactly they should stand at a distance from another person. If it is a surrounded space, make sure there is no more than one individual for every four square meters of the floor area. Look whether a proper queue is maintained or not. The queue should be spaced out the right way to avoid the spread of the virus.
Then, some guidelines do not allow you to serve customers if they continue to sit in your café, if you have one, even after finishing the food. They should eat, pay, and leave. The best option is just allowing delivery options.
Change your store’s business model
If you already have an adaptive business model in place, there is nothing like it. If not, think of new purchasing options for the shoppers such as click and collect or for that matter home delivery services.
Make sure that you receive all payments through your smartphone or laptop and add the receipts in a customer’s pick-up or for that matter, a delivery order. Ask your staff to employ simple methods from taking, packing, and preparing the orders. Follow a zero-touch protocol at your physical store, whether it is the collection of groceries, food, or delivery of these items.
Ensure the best hygiene standards
Make certain that your store staff practices the best hygiene standards as well as convey the standards to the customers efficiently. Your staff and all customers or visitors must have access to materials such as gloves and hand sanitizers. Do not allow any staff or customers to enter your store if they are not wearing masks. Mike Giannulis thinks that these steps are essential to prevent the virus spread and keep staff and people safe.
Sanitize your physical store every hour, especially where trolleys, laptops, smartphones, etc are used. Sanitize keyboards, if any. Keep the door handles, bench tops, and switches sanitized. If any of your staff or customers show flu-like symptoms, do not let them enter your store.
Let your administration team, work from their homes
Amid the corona pandemic, implement flexible working hours as well as arrangements, especially for employees who can work remotely. These are your admin staff. The possible things to consider are access to the server, PC access, passwords, and access to video conferencing applications such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Google Meet, etc.
When your staff uses public transport, keep store hours flexible so that they can take transport during off-peak hours.
Keep all your shelves stocked
During these troubled times, keep your shelves stocked so that customers get all products they want; grocery, food, and things like that. Try to stock more items than usual because customers are looking for edibles more. Cereals, bread, cooking oil, fresh vegetables and fruits, meat, and eggs are some of the edibles that you must have in sufficient quantities so that you do not run out of stock.
If you notice, your stock is selling fast, order additional items in advance so that your store shelves do not become empty.
Take cashless payments
Since the handling of dollar bills involves touch and risks of spreading the virus, opt for digital payments. Disable the cash option amid the pandemic. You can choose bank payments, wallets, Google Pay, etc. Make the most out of modern technology so that your customers can make online payments. You can use ‘Tap and pay’ as the preferred way of receiving payments, whether it is a debit card, credit card, or payments via smartphones.
Educate your customers about COVID-19 safety
Did you know that the National Garden Bureau in the USA has arranged an outstanding list of methods or techniques that home gardeners can apply amid the COVID-19 crisis? You can share such knowledge with your customers. These ideas include having a vegetable garden and growing plants, flowers to lift your mood at these times. If you sell seeds, then these customers will come to your store for them and buy your products. Try these ideas and you will benefit so that you can survive and flourish amid the pandemic.
Remember your regular and loyal customers
You can pamper your loyal and repeat customers with some special deals to show how much they matter to your business. Offer them discounts and ensure that your products are useful and interesting to them. You can ask them to participate in a social media contest. The customers who give the best answers can receive a discounted coupon from your store.
Times are difficult, but you need to survive amid the pandemic. Therefore, implement the best practices in your store, practice hygiene, use gloves, and sanitizers, and maintain social distancing when selling products to your customers. Keep your employees and customers safe.
Michael Giannulis is a CEO, world-class copywriter, and high-end consultant for small business owners. Michael’s success story is one for the books. He was born into a household where nothing ever came easy. At a young age he developed a stutter, something that destroyed his confidence despite adopting