Helping customers feel safe when you reopen

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By Henry Brown

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the series of lockdowns that has swept over the country, it’s no surprise that, as much as some people look forward to getting out of their home, they’re nervous about getting back to daily life. If you own a retail store that is opening up again, you want to give no more reasons to be nervous. Here are a few ways you can help them feel a little safer in your store.

Enforce precautions

You don’t want to add barriers to your shopping experience nor risk the ire of the customer by telling them what to do. However, right now, for the comfort and safety of the majority, you have to be willing to crack the whip (metaphorically, at least) on the minority that may not follow the rules independently. Making it clear via signage and having a member of staff enforce a maximum number of people in the store at one time, for instance, is a good recommendation. Some high traffic stores are even using mini-traffic light systems to make it more intuitive at a glance.

Make it easy to be safe

Aside from encouraging customers that you’re taking the risk of transmission seriously, you should also make it so that they can do their part without too much hassle. Even now, not everyone is going to be carrying a bottle of sanitizer in their pockets. However, adding your logo to hand sanitizer and positioning it at the front of the store, it’s a clear signal that you’re there to help. Some select stores are even stocking up on disposable masks that customers can pick up if they have forgotten their own,  but that’s something more of an investment.

Getting the employees on side

Aside from ensuring the best possible shopping and business environment, how serious your team is about taking the safety measures seriously is paramount. Asking them to follow safety protocols such as washing their hands every time they deal with customers or money, being mindful of social distancing, and wearing face coverings all the time is demanding more of them. As such, you should ensure you’re also investing more to keep them motivated. Praise, recognition of their duties, and rewards can be vital.

Consider adapting to their needs

When it comes to things like deliveries and pickups, it’s a good idea to try and make the experience as contact-free as possible. For instance, if you are traditionally cash-only, then you might want to allow for card payments with a credit card reader. Otherwise, look at aspects of your store that might normally involve human contact and think about how to minimize it as much as possible. Customers typically do not like change all that much, but most will be glad to see that you’re taking the risk seriously.

Your commitment to the safety and comfort of your shoppers should be paramount at this time. There has been no time in living memory where retail businesses are in as much danger if they fail to adapt.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking sh

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