As shelter-in-place constraints begin to facilitate across the nation, and companies are permitted to resume operations in the new standard, it’s essential for many retailers to understand and plan for changing consumer expectations and new safety conditions.
We’ve been talking with retailers in our community, including essential retailers who have stayed open during the previous several months of the outbreak, to learn from the best practices and practices they’ve established in their stores. Our community is stronger when we work together, and we’ll continue to monitor and share learnings regarding the best way best to navigate a secure reopening to your shop.
Before reopening, make sure to ask your regional governments to make sure you’re well-versed on county-specific guidelines and rules, because there are some critical differences concerning the sorts of businesses that are allowed to operate and in what capacity. Moreover, we advise that you consult with this CDC’s Guidance for Businesses to Maintain Healthy Operations.
When you have consulted local regulations and requirements for reopening, make sure to have daily practices in place to keep your team and your store safe.
Protect your customers
In the middle of neighborhood retail is the community it fosters. We know that your customers are in the forefront of everything you do and now more than ever, their health and safety are the top priority.
Here are a couple of ways you can help ensure that your customers feel safe when You reopen your doorways:
- Limit the flow of traffic — based upon the size and location of your store, determine the appropriate maximum capacity with social distancing measures in mind. Introduce signage in your window or outside to notify clients of your new possible limits.
- Boost social media guidelines — Designate markers on the floor throughout your shop so that customers waiting in line, in any aisles or at the cash register can endure at least 6 feet apart. Direct one-way traffic in aisles where possible.
- Provide appropriate security — Ensure customers have access to regulation hand sanitizer at all entrances, exits, and POS stations. Refer to CDC guidelines to ensure that your alcohol-based hand rub is greater than 60% ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol.
- Enforce masks — Require that all customers entering the shop wear a face mask (per CDC recommendations) to prevent any unnecessary transmissions and make various clients feel safe coming inside.
- Limit store hours — Reduce your store hours if necessary to take into account time for cleaning, and consider designating a specific time for high-risk customers to store, like a senior’s hour for shoppers over age 65.
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San Francisco-based retailer, Epicurean Trader has limited store hours and capacity, and is working with OpenTable to allow high-risk customers schedule a time to shop. They’re also cooperating with local distilleries in the area, such as Seven Stills and Falcon Spirits, who have shifted their operations to create high proof, spirit-based botanical hand sanitizer for use in their stores.
Keep your employees healthy
- Ensure employees are healthy — Monitor the health status of your employees to be sure they are showing no signs and encourage staff members which are feeling sick to stay home.
- Provide face masks and masks — Make sure all employees are protected with face masks (per CDC recommendations) and gloves (per FDA recommendations).
- Establish challenges — Place plastic guards at designated service stations or cash registers to provide another layer of protection to your group.
Maintain your shop safe
- Encourage contactless pay — If possible, promote the use of Square contactless reader, ApplePay or comparable hardware solutions for contactless transactions.
- Consider curbside pickup or shipping — Many clients may still not feel comfortable shopping in-store, so consider offering curbside pickup or local delivery (if your county’s regulations let you ). We’ll explore the best practices we’re seeing from the region in a follow up post.
- Disinfect often — Instruct employees to frequently sanitize counters, registers, and other frequently touched objects and surfaces using EPA-approved disinfectants per the CDC’s recommendation. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to do a deep clean and sanitize on a regular basis.
- Limit self-serve — Remove any self-serve stations for food & beverage, discard any tester goods, and halt using reusable products like personal shopping bags and mugs.
- Re-merchandise windows — Use the actual estate on your own window screens to market products that are essential.
San Francisco-based retailer, Douglas SF is offering an entirely contactless shopping experience. They transferred their enroll three feet from the entrance and place one of every item sold, either in a window display or in tables with all the register. Clients come in one by one and tell a staff member that items they would like to buy. The window displays are neatly organized by class (cleaning supplies, dry goods, sweets, etc.) and signage shares a list of everything in stock daily, so that customers can start to plan while in line. The individual purchasing experience also enables employees to focus on personalized hospitality. Finally, they are using bakery tissue to function as a barrier in their POS station so that customers can signal their receipts with no worry about cross contamination.
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