STORE RESTART GUIDE
Retailers are eager to reopen their stores and recapture the lost sales from being closed for one to two months due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As many states and local governments are easing restrictions on retailers they need to rapidly and safely reopen their stores in areas that have removed restrictions.
Cambridge Retail Advisors has created a detailed “Store Restart Guide” that outlines everything retailers need to do to reopen stores quickly and safely. Below is a high-level overview of the key components of the Store Restart Guide with the complete list available for download on the Cambridge Retail Advisors web site.
1. Review State and Local Government Guidelines
Each state and some counties will have different guidelines and timing for reopening non-essential stores. Understanding government guidelines and restrictions is essential to developing a plan that adheres to the new rules.
2. Prepare Physical Store Infrastructure and Services
After being closed for one to two months, it is imperative to validate the condition of the property and the proper functioning of all utilities, network services, and security systems. In addition, there are many routine services that need to be rescheduled.
Identify the staff levels needed for the initial reopening of your stores and reengage your team. If employees have been furloughed or laid off, they will need to be rehired. Once onboard, all employees will need to be properly trained on the new policies and procedures.
4. Establish Store Sanitation and Social Distancing Processes and Policies
Based on mandated and recommended guidelines, establish sanitation and social distancing processes for employees and customers. A thorough sanitation of the entire store before reopening and proper signage for new social distancing are key elements to ensuring the safest environment possible.
5. Test and Prepare Store and Corporate Technology
Store and corporate systems that haven’t been running regularly for a month or two need to be tested and validated. Modifications may be needed to adjust for new return policies, pay rates, passwords, etc.
6. Review Inventory Management Status and Processes
The first step to ensuring inventory accuracy is to conduct a full store inventory cycle including the inspection of floor merchandise. Engage your vendors and suppliers to determine if there are any changes in product availability, special order lead times, or delivery schedule. Purchase orders may need to be adjusted accordingly.
7. Communicate Store Openings and Policies to Customers
Once everything is ready for reopening, it is imperative to let customers know you are open with a comprehensive communications plan (website, email, social media, etc.). It is also important to communicate store hours, if revised, and any new social distancing policies for your store.
Reopening your stores won’t guarantee business as usual, as some shoppers may still be hesitant to return to stores and malls. Beyond letting consumers know you are open, it is imperative that they know you have taken proper precautions to make your store as safe as possible. Even that may not be enough to reengage customers.
Offering a special promotion to encourage customers to add your store to the top of their shopping list is a smart strategy. Extra discounts or special financing offers during a “Grand Reopening” event may help spur more shoppers and buyers.
It has been a rough time for retail and now is the time to make sure your reopening is as successful as possible.