There’s no denying the novel coronavirus has changed all businesses, but small businesses have been hit especially hard. However, some relief is in sight, if you’re ready to handle the new temporary normal of retail to go.
As of April 24, 2020, retailers in Texas can reopen their stores, but in a different way than normal. What does this mean for our local small businesses in McKinney, Allen, Frisco and other areas?
It’s time to make some immediate changes to keep your small business not just hanging out, but growing while also creating loyal customers. It might seem hard at first, but this is a major step towards future-proofing your business.
The New Normal Is Here
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is ready to start reopening Texas. However, this means a new temporary normal as COVID-19 isn’t gone just yet. Abbott issued several executive orders on April 17th, but the one most important to small businesses is you can reopen, just in a retail to go capacity.
Social distancing is still necessary, which is the reason for the restrictions. While you can open back up, you must be able to provide products to customers safely. This means offering curbside pickup, home delivery or some other form of safe delivery.
In McKinney, Frisco and Allen Texas (among all towns in Texas) here are the rules:
- Employees are required to wear face coverings, work at least six feet apart and must be screened for symptoms before entering the building.
- Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the back seat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact.
- Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer. Whenever possible, they must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.
As you might have noticed, this new normal doesn’t just allow customers to flood back into your store. You’ll be selling your products at a distance, which isn’t exactly the norm for many smaller businesses, like those Mom and Pop stores we all love. But, don’t give up hope. You just need to make a few changes.
Going Digital To Stay Competitive
The coronavirus has drastically changed retail for the foreseeable future. In fact, curbside pickup could easily become something customers expect from all businesses, even after this pandemic is over. They love the convenience and it’s a new way for businesses to stay competitive in this changing economy.
What can you do right now to prepare for Friday’s reopening? It’s time to go digital. If you don’t think Americans have changed their views on shopping that much, consider these recent shopping survey results – 90% of Americans remain hesitant to shop in stores. Having a digital presence helps your brick-and-mortar store continue running during a time when 94% of customers feel online shopping is important right now. Online shopping trends are likely to increase, mainly because customers are still going to be fearful even after things return to normal.
The great news is customers want to support small businesses, but they can’t do that if you’re not offering safe shopping options. Since they can’t browse in-store, you need a website now more than ever to serve as your online storefront. The quicker you get your site up and running, the easier it’ll be to conform to the new retail to go guidelines, while showing customers your current inventory from the safety of their homes.
Adjusting To Customer Needs
It is a huge adjustment if you’re a small business that never felt like you really need a website before. You may not even have a social media presence. The face of retail is changing, though and it’s vital to start adjusting to customer needs now, rather than later.
BOPUS is now the ideal business model, which means Buy Online Pick Up in Store. Customers love the ability to browse stores online, both small and large, buy what they want and then pick it up at your store. Customers get to support local small businesses without fear for their health and safety.
It might be hard to think of investing in a website and digital presence right now, but it’s the best way to maintain your customer base and thrive during one of the most difficult economic times in our history. It’s also a great time to invest in digital marketing. To avoid sinking instead of swimming to success right now, ensure you’re giving customers the following:
- Plenty of inventory and correct inventory numbers online
- Free shipping or low-cost shipping
- Free curbside pickup (customers will drive to your store versus having to pay shipping)
- Great customer service, online and off
- Fast and easy to use website
Welcome to the new normal. Adapting now can save your small business. Are you looking forward to April 24th and diving into the retail to go model? Call us today at (214) 938-2364 to discuss options on serving your retail customers.