While many businesses are able to offer employees work-from-home options during COVID-19, retail stores aren’t quite so lucky. Even if you have an e-commerce model, most retailers need some staff on the premises to keep business humming. But of course, there are CDC guidelines to take into account. So, how do you do this while making sure you don’t lose your brand’s personality and cool factor in the process? We have some ideas.
If you’re looking to make retail store upgrades to be CDC compliant, signs are a must. But the humdrum social distancing signs you see everywhere are a giant buzzkill for everyone who sees them. Instead of boring customers to death, spice them up. Use graphics and verbiage that are fun/funny and makes people laugh. We created some social distancing signs for a client, and one of them said, “social distance like you’re at a 6th grade dance.” Employees and customers went crazy for it!
Signage is also important in communicating with customers about new policies. If you no longer allow people in your dressing rooms, for example, create a sign that explains this clearly while not making customers feel rebuffed. You can also use signs to remind everyone at your store about best practices for prevention of COVID-19, like hand washing reminder graphics, signs pointing out hand sanitizer stations, and signage that lets others know how many people are allowed in a given area at one time. If these signs look like they were created by the CDC media, though, they’re not going to keep your brand image high. Make them fun, give them personality, and don’t shy away from some humor.
Reimagine Customer Service
Your team members were handpicked to interact with your customers in a warm, friendly way. That communication is usually one of the best parts of being in a retail store. But now that we’re all hell-bent on preventing the spread of this virus, face-to-face chatter has changed. We all have to do our part and follow CDC guidelines, but it’s important to try to prioritize safe social interaction in the process.
You can take steps like putting up a pane of plastic between your cashiers and your customers, and that’s ok. But what about reenvisioning the whole process? Can you instead create a drive-through customer service or checkout option? Have team members (wearing gloves and fun, branded masks) come out to customers’ cars, bring out a Square or other payment device and handle business out in the parking lot? The open air is a lot safer than being in an enclosed space, after all, and this option can feel more personal than having a pane of plastic between you.
Or what about creating a sign-up for shoppers? If you’re limiting the number of people in the store at a single time, you don’t want to end up with a Disneyland line outside the door as people wait to be let in. So, try offering sign-up slots on your site, so people can choose a time and get in right at their scheduled slot. This saves them from the aggravation of waiting, and it also helps you avoid peak rushes and manage occupancy limits more smoothly and effectively.
These are just a few ideas, but the point is to not simply think about how to adapt your existing operations for the CDC guidelines. Instead, think outside the box and get creative. Consider ways to reinvent your store and the entire shopping experience in order to be CDC compliant and keep things appealing for customers. Contact us anytime for help making your signage or interiors fresh.