The number of coronavirus cases diagnosed worldwide is rising daily, with over 400,000 confirmed cases and over 22,000 deaths on all five continents since the outbreak of COVID-19. With many countries on lockdown, the impact on workers and on businesses that rely on consumer-facing services/products is already quite profound. Most experts forecast indicate that consumer-facing businesses i.e. retailers, restaurant chains, luxury-goods companies, cinemas and more, will be among the hardest-hit by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The retail world is increasingly closing for business. For those still open, unexpected challenges such as canceled events, manufacturing delays, broken supply chains, and much more keep popping up. In this article, we would look at how retail businesses can course through the crisis.
During pandemics, it is perfectly normal that people feel anxious. As a retailer, it is expedient that you provide employees and customers with accurate information to avoid false panic. Be proactive by answering concerns people have about your business. Ensure fluid communication channels with employees, update them on important pieces of information and demonstrate positive attitudes.
Employees are rightfully concerned about their health, safety, and welfare. In light of the global spread of the virus (COVID-19), the following are precautions needed to be taken by employers:
i. Employees must be reminded every day of precautions that help prevent the spread of the virus.
ii. Appropriate items like hand sanitizers, wipes, etc. should also be provided for the employees to help facilitate the prevention of the virus.
iii. Advice sick employees to stay at home.
iv. Provide general work protocol recommended by WHO and NCDC.
v. Suspend non-essential travels.
vi. Provide alternatives to in-person meetings e.g video conferencing.
vii. Train employees on additional safety measures to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure; this should include information on how to isolate and how to prevent possible cases.
viii. All training should be given clearly and concisely in languages employees can understand.
Maintaining your stock level can be quite the struggle. This can be due to high demand and stockpiling. However, deliberately taking advantage of your customers projects you as someone with loose morals, one that only cares about profits, thus angry customers will then go to competitors when supplies return to normal. It could jeopardize your brand image and longterm revenue. Instead of trying to profit from the COVID-19 crisis, focus on inventory management to ensure you have sufficient stock. Make profits by selling at “Best Price” and organizing promotions in comparison with other stores. This will give you a competitive advantage and drive traffic to your store.
You can also enhance your visibility and services rendered to customers by offering extra services. Most customers are already so paranoid about leaving their houses. See this an opportunity to promote services such as grocery delivery, curb-side-pick-up, and other services like pre-packaged bundles and essential kits. This brings in new customers and keeps old ones interested.
The consequences of China-centric supply chains are being felt by businesses around the world, you can see this as an opportunity for your business to review and diversify your supply chain. Diversifying your supply chain helps in ensuring multiple choice of goods, readdress your business over-reliance on China market and look to suppliers outside China to deliver products.
Seeing that the coronavirus has escalated to a global pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that everyone should maintain preparedness. Retailers can do this by being proactive and contribute in every way they can. Send out reassuring and comforting messages to your client, train your employees on healths and safety measures and stay abreast of information. Lastly maintain your responsibility to the public and maintain safety best practices.
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