Coronavirus & Retail - Mitigating COVID Risk in The Retail Sector

The impact that Coronavirus has had varies from country to country. Wherever you are in the world, you’re likely to be given different guidelines and advice on how to stop the spread. What is more clear is that fixing the virus isn't as simple as snapping your fingers. Many experts are saying that it could a year or so before a vaccine is found. 

In the meantime, governments across the world are taking required steps to minimise the spread of the virus and ensure populations remain safe. This means people are having to self-isolate themselves at home and stay away from public spaces.

For retail businesses, this is taking its toll as people stay away from stores. In recent weeks, there have been lifts in measures which have allowed some retail stores to open up, but mitigating risk is still considered a high priority whilst this is the case. 

Consider the impact on your suppliers

The virus has impacted the full supply chain when it comes to products. This means businesses are being affected right to the core, starting with their suppliers. There will be issues with shipping and packaging as suppliers struggle to transfer products across borders and airlines that are temporarily closed. 

This is something that you should consider when dealing with your retail store - reach out to suppliers if you feel they need assistance and make things easier for them. Discuss how you work together to ease the process, whether it includes flexibility with payment or adjusting shipping expectations.

Different changes will occur for different industries

The impact that the virus has had on retail business will differ depending on the category of retail that you’re in. For some, there would have been a massive downturn in sales, whilst others may have seen a massive boost. It’s no surprise that consumers are prioritising essential purchases during these times. 

If you deal with high demand products, you’ll have to adapt to the current circumstances such as hiring more staff, accommodating vulnerable shoppers and ensuring they have enough stock. On the other hand, even businesses that are struggling can adapt. For example, perfume suppliers are using their products to create hand sanitizers for those who need it most. 

Utilise online services

With consumers having to stay at home, it’s crucial businesses have online services to adapt. This can make it far easier for retailers to make orders online and still get the services and products they need.

If you already have an e-commerce website, look into ways it can improve as more and more consumers might be looking for your services and products. How you can do this will depend on the service that you provide. Will your website be able to handle the added traffic? Are the online operations in good condition? Does your website load up quickly?

Run diagnostics on your website beforehand and make sure it’s up to scratch to handle the consumer demand. Also, keep in mind whether you have the courier services available to deliver your stock. These services will be in even higher demand due to more people ordering online.

Conclusion

When the going gets tough, this is when the good companies become better. The sign of a good business is one that adapts to unexpected situations and takes the relevant risks after analysing their processes.

Whether your retail business specialises in selling designer sofas or garden equipment, now is the time to prove to consumers that you put them first, along with your employees. Focus on your core values and enhance your operation to deliver your products. 

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