In today’s challenging times, finding ways to keep your retail business open and profitable can be tough. The high street took a major turn for the worse during the pandemic, and though there have been incentives to get consumers back through the doors (including August’s Eat Out to Help Out Scheme), footfall is still down with punters preferring to shop online. Below, we’ve rounded up tips to help you cope in the current challenging climate…
Follow Government Guidelines
Perhaps the most obvious piece of advice we can offer is to follow all government guidelines to the letter, ensuring your business remains compliant at all times. It can be challenging as advice and best-practices can change at the drop of a hat, so stay on the ball with industry news and be ready to adapt to change as the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve.
Be Clear on In-store Rules
Though it’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that customers and staff are following social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing policies, you should put the onus on your customers. Add floor vinyl stickers, in-store announcements, and posters to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and don’t be afraid to enforce your rules and remove customers from your store if they’re failing to comply. Having a security guard will help you.
Work with a Professional
As we’ve just touched upon, having a professional will give your staff and customers more reassurance that you’re doing everything you can. We recommend enlisting the help of an FM provider who can deliver services such as in-store cleaning and security; that way, if you need any extra pairs of hands, you know that you’ll have a trained professional right there.
Accept that it won’t be Perfect
Your customers, your staff, and your senior management team have had to adapt in these truly testing times, and the truth is, they’re not going to get it right every time. Though you should indeed be enforcing your policies, you should practice leniency with your teams and accept that mistakes will be made. Learn from them and ensure that everyone is doing their best to follow advice – if something slips, you can use it as a reminder and get back to work.
Look at Diversification
Finally, think about how you can adapt your retail business in these current times. You might want to expand your product portfolio to include COVID-friendly products like face masks and hand washes or you might consider offering a click-and-collect or home delivery service. Listen to your customers and help them help you – some simply won’t be comfortable returning to your store, but they might be in need of your products and will pay a premium for home delivery. And that service may be a little rough around the edges, but it’s one way to keep your business afloat and ensure you can remain competitive as we enter a recession.
Whatever your strategy in the coming months, we wish you the very best of luck.