Preparing Your Business for the COVID Holidays

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If you run a retail operation, you would normally be gearing up for the holidays right now. The pandemic has changed that a bit. You will still be preparing but for different reasons. Instead of many customers, you might need to get ready to ensure you have sales. Here are some steps to take so that you don’t end up losing money during the usual time when you should be earning big.

Hygiene

Businesses that still run a brick-and-mortar store should have this as a priority. Customers will notice if you are not putting to be as hygienic as possible. This is not something you want them to notice when it will only take a bit of additional effort.

Start with placing a hygiene station at the entrance. Have hand sanitizers ready so that people can clean their hands and have signs for masks. Don’t buy the pump-operated hand sanitizers. People will be touching the pump, and that is not the best option. Your best choice is to use laser-operated for maximum convenience with no hand contact at all. If you can’t buy one, then foot-operated pumps are a good second option.

Have visible cleaners and keep them disinfecting notable areas of your store: counters, doorknobs, and other areas where people might end up sharing contact.

Keep Things Secure

With all the focus on health, you should also be wary of theft. It is easy to sneak an item or two when something distracts your sales staff. It is worth hiring additional unarmed guard services for your store, especially if it is a big one. This was already a major concern during the normal holiday season, with the increased presence of shoppers and additional workers. Now, you can’t lose any more of your stock to theft. Be strict in checking on security videos and have supervisors on site.

If possible, limit the number of shoppers in the store. This is already a good option for social distancing and hygiene, so customers will be able to accept it. More importantly, it will allow you to keep better track of people inside of your store.

Another way that can help with both hygiene and security is to go cashless. Allow credit cards and e-wallets for payment, and you will see easier payments and tracking. No loose cash around means no way for physical theft to happen. The cashless approach also minimizes contact, so your people are so much safer.

Stock Your Inventory Right

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One of the things that you normally had to prepare for during the holidays was to fill up your inventory. Full stock in your inventory ensures that customers will be buying from you and not from your competition. The trouble this year is that there is a very good chance that you might overstock. This will mean you have capital stuck in your stock when you could be using it for something else. This can mean the difference when your business is in danger of closing because of low revenue.

To ensure that you stock right for this holiday season, you should use the right demand forecasting methods. This allows you to predict what customers will want and how many they will want. It will help you stock the right amount in your inventory, with a minor margin of error. This minimizes lost sales and ensures you get your money’s worth.

Going Online

If there is anything that you should be doing, it is to pivot online. You don’t need to go fully online, though. You can keep your physical location but allow for online ordering. For example, you can avoid an overstock situation by saying that you will have online preorders for your holiday season products. People can then put in their orders months ahead; then, they can either pick it up at your store or have it delivered. With preorders, you can be sure to lower your stock purchases—no overstock and no wasted money.

But if you go online, you’ll need a website. Setting one up now gives you enough lead time for when the holiday rush begins. Work with a good web designer so that your website can draw in the customers for the holiday rush. With the right approach, you can turn website browsers into customers.

The holidays are usually a big event for most retailers. They earn a big chunk of their earnings during this period. The pandemic might have slowed things down, but life goes on. Keep your business running by doing the right preparations for the coming holidays.

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