How to prepare your store and staff for busy holidays during the pandemic?

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The holiday season is coming, and restaurants and retail stores are getting ready for a different landscape. The health and economic challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic have already transformed how people shop, and most of these changes may become the new normal.

In order to make this unalike season a success for your business, it’s important to take the time to prepare for it. Here are some tactics we’d like to share with you to help you prepare your store and staff for the upcoming holiday months.

1.ENABLE SOCIAL DISTANCING

This is a key area your business needs to focus on – protecting your customers that are coming to shop or dine as well as your frontline workers. The bottom line of your store is to execute effectual social distancing measures to reduce human contact as much as possible.

Some ways to ensure adequate social distancing are:

  • Mark out the queuing spot at set distance of every two meters, especially at the check-out points.
  • Limit the number of people who can enter your store. This will help make sure that not too many people are in a confined space, making social distancing easier to maintain.
  • Know your entry and exit points as these tend to be bottlenecks due to its small width. If you have two entry points, mark one as the entrance and the other as the exit.
  • Enable extended hours, allowing shoppers to come in late-night. This also helps reduce the overall crowd in the store.
  • For businesses that have a small store-space, enable appointment-only reservations.
  • If you’re a restaurant, safe outdoor seating is essential. Consider building a glass shield to cover the outdoor dining space so the customers dining, don’t come in contact with people passing by.
  • Enable contact-free entry by placing automatic sliding doors in your store.

 2. DELIVERY AND COLLECTION POINTS 

If you’re selling in-store as well as online, there are two ways in which your customers can receive their order – pick up in person or door delivery.

  • Buy Online and Pick Up In-Store is one of the best ways to avoid additional footfall and long queues at the checkout.
  • When delivering the products, allow customers to choose the option for contact-less delivery. This way, the delivery person can leave the item at the door without coming in contact with the customer.
  • When you’re operating during a holiday season, chances are, your business might need to stock up more than usual. If any issues arise and there is less-stock in hand, offer customers the ability to make the purchase in-store and have it delivered to them at their house.

3. CHOOSE CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS

One of the few ways in which your customers will come in contact with your staff is during the checkout process. There are multiple ways in which customers can make payment without coming in contact:

  • Pay In-App: You can enable online payment through your very own in-app wallet, enabling your customers to purchase products and redeem vouchers.
  • Contactless card payment: let your customers simply tap their debit/credit at the checkout counter in order to make a payment, avoiding the transfer of cash.

4. MAINTAIN HYGIENE AND SANITIZATION

We’re living in a time where sanitization has become more important than ever. Mopping and dusting is part of the cleaning process. However, this only kills the bacteria – sanitizing kills the germs and the viruses and that is why it is one of the most components and cannot be overlooked.

  • Schedule proactive decontamination at the stores. This includes the dining space, changing rooms, storage, kitchen and staff rooms.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer to your customers by placing it at the entrance, at the dining table and/or at the checkout desk. It is best to use a sanitizer dispenser that is laser operated, so people can avoid touching it.

5. PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS AMONGST YOUR FRONT-LINE EMPLOYEES

Keeping the workplace clean and sanitized is one way to keep your employees safe. It is also crucial for your business to plan frequent COVID-19 check-ups and flu-shot day so they’re healthy and safe.

Here are some other ways you can ensure your staff is prepared for the holiday season:

  • Frequent breaks: Give your staff short but frequent breaks during the day so they don’t get exhausted. It is important for them to have a breather.
  • Hydration: Proper hydration assists in boosting metabolism and reducing fatigue. Your business can provide water bottles to the staff in store so they’re hydrated at all times.
  • Most importantly, make sure your staff has adequate masks and gloves to protect themselves.

6. HIRE SKELETAL STAFF AND TEMPORARY WORKERS

Even though the foot traffic might not be as high as it used to be, your staff has more tasks to do than ever before. This includes cleaning, sanitization, regulating social distancing and more. In order to prepare your staff:

  • Provide extra training: Cleaning and sanitizing might seem like a simple task but doing it correctly is very crucial and has to be paid more attention to.
  • Hire temporary workers: This is a great way to manage the holiday season rush in-store. You may hire school or university students who can volunteer for some cash or work with an agency providing temporary workers.

7. INCREASE YOUR BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT ONLINE

Even though your business will receive a lot of in-store visitors, online shopping will be the norm for most businesses this year. Thus, it becomes important to keep a number of factors in mind:

  • Engage on social media: Most of your customers are active on at least one social media platform. Engage with them through Instagram lives, Facebook polls and Snapchat filters.
  • Get back to your customers as quickly as possible when they share comments or questions with you online
  • Send them in-app messages, push notifications or emails to keep them in the loop of discounts and offers during the holiday season.
  • Create unique and distinctive promotions and advertise them on your website, social media, SMS and in-app.
  • Enable referral program or credit sharing so your customers are able to refer their friends and family or share credit during the holiday season.
  • Provide seasonal gifts, promotions and offers to customers to keep them engaged and even loyal to your business.

8. EMBRACE THE WINTER WITH OPEN ARMS!

As the holiday season draws closer and your store prepares for its customers, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Plan separate decorations, menu items and themes for each holiday to distinguish one from the other.
  • If you’re living in a cold country, keep your stores and retail space heated to make the shopping and/or dining experience comfortable for the customers. Keep in mind to insulate the pipes to prevent it from freezing and bursting, make sure there is enough parking space available, set up a snow removal contract, maintain ice-free sidewalks to avoid customers from slipping, etc.
  • Chances are your customers might plan on visiting you in-store during the holiday season. Make their experience as unforgettable as possible. Write them handwritten notes/greetings, provide them with a free mask/hand gloves, assist them in finding what they’re looking for in-store and more.

During this busy but unalike holiday season, make sure your customers and front-line employees feel safe when enjoying the moment at your store.

If you are looking to make your business even more successful during the holiday season with a loyalty solution, do not hesitate to contact us at Como!

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