As the world begins to recover from COVID-19, business owners everywhere like yourself may be wondering how to move forward. Reopening retail stores is not as straightforward as simply returning to business as usual; the pandemic has forever changed consumers’ shopping habits, as well as their sanitation standards. Read on to discover some key considerations to keep in mind as you plan reopening your retail store.
Reopening Retail Stores: 4 Tips
1. Create a Long-Term Health and Safety Plan
Even as many people become vaccinated against COVID-19, health and safety is a topic that is sure to stay on shoppers’ minds in the future. It’s likely that consumers will be more concerned with how they can to avoid the common cold, the flu, and more, even as COVID-19 becomes less prevalent.
To plan for the changing priorities of your consumers, it’s important to develop a long-term cleaning plan, including which areas will be cleaned, how often, with which supplies, by whom, and how the cleaning procedures will be logged. It’s also important to develop a set of safety protocols for your shoppers and employees, including things like if and when masks should be worn, social distancing guidelines, when sneeze guards should be used, and more.
Certain easy-to-use health and safety products – like the Star Micronics POSShield sneeze guard and antimicrobial covers – are more-or-less “set it and forget it” solutions that can assist you as you prioritize health and safety in the long run.
2. Assess Your Tech Needs
The pandemic acted as a catalyst in the growth of many tech-centric retail trends including online ordering, curbside pickup, and contactless payments. Not only did these digital trends blow up during the lockdown, but people will likely continue to use and prefer these technologies. For example, did you know that 58% of people in the United States are more likely to use contactless payment methods than they were before the pandemic?
If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider what technology your store needs to adapt to the ongoing digital transformation. A receipt printer that has the capability to automatically print online orders, like the mC-Print3, is key, as well as a label printer like the TSP654IISK which can print liner-free labels to be used for labeling buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup orders.
Does a large chunk of your clientele still shop in-store? You may still need a tech refresh. An all-in-one point-of-purchase that combines a receipt printer, cash drawer, device stand, and scanner can be helpful for businesses that are experiencing more contactless payments now as retail stores reopen. And cash-heavy businesses, such as cannabis dispensaries, can consider upgrading to the latest cash drawers which feature added strength and security.
3. Evaluate and Adjust Store Setup
As the digital transformation continues to permeate the retail industry, you may find that your store’s inventory needs adjusted. For example, if you are experiencing more online orders than you previously did, you may need to adjust the ratio of your back-of-store and front-of-store inventory to support that need.
In a similar vein, if your store experiences a large volume of BOPIS orders, that will likely continue, and it is wise to establish a permanent space within the store to be used for storing and delivering those orders.
Once you’ve updated your health and safety procedures, your point of sale technology, and your store setup, there’s one very important thing left to do: communicate all of these changes to your loyal customers!
They say communication is the most important element of a relationship, and the same applies to business-customer relationships. Be sure to make your shoppers aware of your new hours, online ordering/delivery options, and safety protocols, if applicable.
Some marketing ideas to help deliver your news include:
- Email marketing: Put that email database to use and send some updates to your shoppers letting them know about your news and updates.
- Social media: Adults in the US spend an average of 2 hours and 6 minutes on social media each day. Take advantage of that and be sure to post your latest updates for your loyal followers to see (and share).
- In-store signage: Want to let in-store shoppers know about your “endless aisle” or the measures you’re taking to keep them safe? In-store signs placed near the store entrance and point of sale can drive the message home.
- Receipt marketing: One place that customers are sure to look? Their receipt! Consider using your Star printer to print custom promotions on the bottoms of your receipts (for free).
Star Micronics Solutions for Reopening Retail Stores
Star Micronics has what it takes to make retailers stand out – today and in the future. We proudly provide end-to-end retail POS solutions that are compatible with today’s top applications. Star’s wide variety of retail POS hardware and systems solutions for the modern retailer include:
- Receipt printers
- Ticket/label printers
- Portable printers for mobile sales, curbside payments, and line-busting
- Sneeze guards
- Antimicrobial covers
- NTEP-certified scales
- Check readers and endorsers
- Self-service kiosk printers
- Value-added cloud marketing services
- And more!
Recommended Small Business Bundle:
Printer – cash drawer – scanner – device stand
Available with Flat Bill cash management
Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows
Portable plexiglass sneeze guard
Limits the spread of germs
No countertop mounting or drilled required
Reduce the transfer of germs on high-touch surfaces
Designed for use on door handles, checkout counters, and more
Thoroughly tested, EPA-registered, latex-free