An entirely different retail environment awaits customers as stores reopen after the surge of coronavirus outbreaks which led US businesses down to their knees. With increased health protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks, there is now less person-to-person interaction on physical stores, and store staff cannot market as efficiently as before anymore. Instead, retailers now have to heavily rely on displays for a chance to drive impulse and add-on purchases. These are also their only hope to salvage their inventory from unsold merchandise which is left when they were forced to close. Listed below are some reforms that retailers may consider implementing to adapt to the industry’s new normal.
Increase secondary displays
Since your people can’t talk to customers directly as much as they used to before, POP or Point of Purchase Displays are needed now more than ever. Packaging cannot always do all the advertising either. That’s why it is necessary to place additional shelf signs, hanging signs, standing displays, or floor graphics to inform customers about the products that they can consider purchasing. You can also use these to describe functions and benefits that are unique to certain products and are absent to other brands without actually mentioning them.
Install dividers and safety distance reminders
Communicating store safety instructions and protocols is also vital in helping protect your customers. It is difficult to enforce certain rules such as social distancing that’s why dividers between customers and staff have become an essential part of stores nowadays. Even with face masks and face shields, people are still at risk especially with the emergence of certain virus variants with increased spread rates.
Implement digital alternatives
Store owners are now in need of deploying mechanisms that will help control the in-store environment and managing the number of people going in. Since actual fitting rooms are also not advisable anymore, some brands will have to choose digital alternatives to help customers decide and find the right fit for them. Big screens can be installed to create an image of the actual look of customers with a particular product. Some can also determine the right size to fit the buyer or color based on the customer’s skin tone. Checkout lines also pose risks that retailers cannot take. What they can do is utilize technology to allow their customers to checkout and pay through their mobile devices.
Intensify online and text customer communications
Through mobile apps and text, retailers will be able not only to inform customers about policies but also to take and fulfill orders, while promoting curbside pickup which is safer both for your customers and employees because it lessens the people going in your store without affecting your sales and it requires less person-to-person contact.
It is still uncertain when will be the time for us to regain a sense of normalcy. As the holiday season comes closer, owners become pressured how they will be able not only to survive but to earn as close to how much they earn before the pandemic started. To achieve this they must decide how to adapt quickly and wisely—reform is now the new normal.