We are all very aware of the impact COVID-19 (coronavirus) is having globally and on countless business and personal levels. With retailers forced to close (physical) shop, what’s the best plan of action to succeed while maintaining public safety?
In this blog post, we will discuss how the COVID-19 situation is multi-phase, and which steps you can take during each stage to ensure business survival – while keeping everyone involved safe and healthy. Star is proud to partner with Vend, a cloud-based point of sale and retail management software provider that enables small businesses to do business in-store, online, and via mobile devices. As a thought leader in the retail space, Vend has created a multi-phase action plan for retailers, which you can find below:
As you can see, this plan includes what business impact to expect during each stage of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as preparation tips for the stage you are in to ensure the best possible outcome for your business.
While phase 1 (being cautiously open for business) and phase 2 (preparing for social distancing) have passed, today’s blog post will focus on how retailers can safely succeed during the peak of COVID-19, and best practices for opening shop back up when the crisis has passed. Read on to get ideas for your own action plan.
What Retailers Can Do During the Peak of COVID-19
The peak of COVID-19 is undoubtedly nerve-racking, both personally and professionally. However, it’s important to try to stay positive and keep your eyes on the future. There are several things you can do to better your business right now, and to prepare for when it’s time to open your brick-and-mortar location back up.
- Optimize Your Online Store: Right now, your store ideally is fully online. It’s a good time to take a deep look at your e-commerce strategy and make any necessary tweaks to your website. Click here to learn some online selling tips.
- Thoughtful Promotions: The key to navigating the current situation is being thoughtful and tasteful. You can still promote items from your store but be sure to do so in a compassionate way that shows your awareness to the current crisis. One idea is to promote gift cards to excite your customers for when they can safely return to the store and give them something to look forward to during what can be bleak times. Another idea is to hold an online flash sale containing items that could give your customers some joy at home.
- Always be Communicating: During the peak of the pandemic, be sure to maintain a strong digital presence, not just through your website and online store but through social media and email marketing, too. Your customers cannot visit your store in-person, but appropriate regular communication can provide some relief and distraction during a hard time for many people. This is also a good way to keep customers updated on your current business situation and let them know what you’re doing to not only survive this crisis, but perhaps give back to the community as well.
- Housekeeping: There’s no better time for housekeeping and catching up on all those ideas you’ve had for months (or years) than when your doors are closed. Keep busy by taking care of your stocktaking, merchandising, and sanitizing. If you have been considering upgrading your POS, now is the time to do your research and choose a system that has all the features your business needs – now and in the future.One upgrade to consider is switching to the Star mC-Print3 thermal receipt printer, which is not only sleek in design but features brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and promotional capabilities. The mC-Print3 can print custom on-receipt promotions, and includes Bluetooth, USB, Lightning, LAN, and CloudPRNT online ordering connectivity. Built for modern tablet POS solutions, the mC-Print3 also features SteadyLAN® technology, which provides wired Ethernet service and power to iOS, Android, and Windows devices, eliminating the worry of unstable Wi-Fi connections. The best part? The mC-Print3 works with the industry’s leading retail POS software providers, including Vend, who is offering a limited-time deal to retailers including two free months of software, as well as three free months of e-commerce and advanced loyalty program tools. Click here to learn more.
Free Resources During COVID-19
Now more than ever, safety is a priority in retail and hospitality environments. Star Micronics is proud to offer a line of solutions and resources for businesses during this challenging time, designed to keep consumers and employees safe, as well as mitigate business impact caused by COVID-19.
How to Prepare to Open Back Up for Business
While it’s an unquestionably difficult time for retail during COVID-19, it will pass. Preparing for opening your physical store back up can provide you with some optimism and positivity, as well an action plan for future success. Some preparation ideas for opening back up include:
- Have Your In-Store Tools Ready to Go: If you did any upgrading while your brick-and-mortar store was closed, be sure those new solutions are set up, ready to go, and have been thoroughly tested. Contact your POS software and/or hardware technical support teams if you have any issues during testing, so that you can get the kinks worked out ahead of time and hit the ground running when you reopen your doors.
- Maintain New Practices: You’ve likely adopted lots of good hygiene, e-commerce, marketing, and staff training habits during COVID-19. When your store reopens and life gets busier, don’t let those great habits fall to the wayside.
- Announce Your Reopening Far and Wide: It’s the moment every retailer is looking forward to: announcing to your customers that you are reopening! On top of communicating to your customers via website, social media, and email that you are opening back up for business, consider having a “welcome back” sale. And most importantly, remember to thank your valuable customers for standing by you during the difficult time.
More Tools from Vend
- Coronavirus Resources Archive: A library of content regarding retail during COVID-19 that Vend has created specifically for businesses like you during this time.
- Daily Retail Traffic Impact of COVID-19: This report shows the effects of COVID-19 on retail, market-by-market and day-by-day.
We hope that these tips help you navigate the ongoing situation regarding retail during COVID-19. While there is undoubtedly an element of uncertainty to the crisis, it can and will pass, and we are proud to support you during this time.