With public health guidelines constantly changing, retailers need the right tools to communicate clearly with stores, such as retail task management software.
Before the lockdown came into effect, over three-quarters of customers were avoiding trips to non-essential stores, and while shops may now be allowed open, many consumers will continue to avoid unessential trips to stores unless they feel safe doing so. Retailers that fail to enforce health and social distancing guidelines risk damaging customer relationships.
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught the retail world anything, it’s that having access to real-time communication channels is not a nice-to-have – it’s outright essential. Being able to adapt to ever-changing government health advice and regulations, communicate key learnings and adopt new approaches is only possible if head office, regional and store management teams can share information quickly and seamlessly.
Here are four ways retailers can ensure their stores are following social distancing initiatives and communicating in real-time with stores:
1) Set clear standards and expectations
The government has enforced a number of measures that retailers are responsible for implementing, such as installing plastic screens at checkout counters, using floor markings to encourage shoppers to stand two metres apart, and limiting the number of customers allowed in-store, but many retailers are implementing their own initiatives to encourage consumers back in store, such as:
- Quarantining all items consumers have touched
- Closing fitting rooms and toilets
- Asking consumers to wait in virtual queues to enter stores or pre-selecting available time-slots
- Providing hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser at entrance and exit points
- Regulating use of high traffic areas in a building to allow for social distancing to take place
- Reducing the number of displays to create more space in-store
- Installing digital displays that show how many other customers are in the same store at the same time
- Using AR technology to allow customers to virtually try on products like make-up
It’s worth communicating all measures you expect your stores to follow in a clear and concise way, and making sure you explain the reasoning behind each initiative – what you are trying to achieve – so that everyone is on the same page.
2) Assign tasks to store managers and associates
Head offices will need to stay in touch with their store teams now more than ever to help them navigate this challenging new environment.
That’s why many leading retailers are using retail task software to share specific tasks with stores and with specific employees to ensure all safety and hygiene measures are implemented properly. For instance, many store managers are using the software to create to-do lists, such as ensuring display items or working counters have been properly sanitised, which also limits contact between employees.
A task app is also useful for assigning positions or roles for store associates, such as asking a colleague to greet customers (from a distance), or assigning them to a particular section of the store.
3) Share information in real-time
In an environment where employees are encouraged to keep their distance from one another, sharing new health and safety guidelines can be difficult, and doing so via email or text message means most shop floor workers won’t see any updates until hours later.
One of the best benefits of a task management app is its ability to help retailers easily share important messages and resources, such as PDFs, videos and images with their teams.
4) Keep your employees motivated
Your employees might be glad to be back at work, but as we have seen with the frontline workers at supermarkets and other essential retailers during the lockdown, being a frontline worker can be tough.
There’s the risk to their own personal health, difficulty getting to and home from work, and the potential for abuse from customers. That’s why retailers should do everything they can to keep their store staff motivated and engaged. Listen to their concerns or complaints, and ask for their advice – and don’t forget to celebrate success. Task management software enables retailers to share motivational messages to staff to keep them engaged and motivated.