Action Step 9
Repurpose your brick & mortar footprint.
If your store equipped to adjust to the necessary requirements due to COVID-19?
Very simply, physical store environments have demanded change in response to the coronavirus. From social distancing signage to curb-side pick-up to updated merchandising features and more, there are a variety of responsibilities and actions that customers need to be alerted to. Despite these updates, however, it’s important the core essentials of retail are not dismissed along the way.
Retail expert Georganne Bender believes that in order for brick and mortar merchants to truly excel post COVID-19, they “should not lose focus on merchandising.” Expanding on this, Bender explains that with new priorities and expectations due to COVID-19, it’s easy to lose sight of traditional in-store expectations.
“Despite the new challenges and responsibilities of merchants, retailers need to set their sales floors to sell. It’s easy to forgo these basic store requirements when you are busy sanitizing the cash wrap 400 times a day, but merchandising isn’t something you can let slide. More so than ever, shoppers who visit your store are ready to buy and your job is to set displays that encourage them to pause.”
Creating a pause effect is what will introduce more dollars to your store, but creating a safe place for them to pause will be key. To help customers confidently return to your store, consider the following:
- Signage. Offer clear exterior and interior store signage alerting customers to updated store policies, social distancing requirements, updated store hours, curb-side pick-up details and all other messages you want your customers to know.
- Safety. Provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to your staff, as well as offer sanitizing options such as hand sanitizer and wipes for surfaces to staff and customers alike. Introduce strengthened cleaning procedures, and identify social distancing and protective face covering guidelines as needed.
- Curb-side Delivery. This is among the more immediate changes consumers were introduced to during COVID-19 and while it may have felt temporary at the time, it’s here to stay. Implement a strong strategy to support this offering, including space outside your storefront to easily welcome customers for pick-up and a well trained staff on yow to deliver purchases as safely as possible.
- Touchless Payless. As highlighted in action step 9, providing alternative payment options to traditional credit cards or cash is a must. Consumers have a variety of ways in which they can – and want – to pay in 2020, and retailers need to adapt to this as a way to eliminate the risk of losing sales. As an added bonus, many of these payments are touchless, enhancing the safety and confidence of the customer shopper experience.
There will be a wave of changes as brick and mortar stores open again. Short term will be limited occupancy and less of a push to have in-store events but longer term we are looking at consumers increasingly adopting technologies that will push brands and retailers towards in-store digitalization from self-guided exploration to contactless check-out. Brands will need to create environments that more seamless transition from fulfilment to experience, and they will need to deliver on quick-serve metrics as much as they do on customer service. Display windows will evolve in their purpose, requiring the ability to transform from a point of visual display and storytelling to one centered around a purchase and/or pick-up.
-Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of The Lionesque Group and Principal at MG2
No time or no clue on what to say in your updated store signage? The National Retail Federation offers free, downloadable signs that you can use in your unique store alerting customers to store best practices amidst and post COVID-19. Signage includes messaging to support social distancing requirements, face covering details, communication strategies and more