One thing that history has taught us is that even in difficult times, opportunity favors the prepared, not to mention the savvy and resilient! The spread of Coronavirus has sent shockwaves across the global economy. COVID has had a profound effect on every sector of retail business – whether you are in soft goods, hospitality, or finance. Many are left wondering, ‘what comes next?’.
Right now, as the world is navigating through this new normal, there are additional precautions that are put in place in many physical locations. When local conditions allow for retail stores to open, they confront a variety of guidelines that vary by state. Yes, the future looks different from past years. However, you can position your business to thrive if you understand your customer’s motivation, moving forward. In fact, the strategies you implement today can set you on the right path for success, post-pandemic.
Contrary to concerns, brick and mortar locations are still relevant. People have been shopping for goods and services online, and even during the pandemic, the desire still exists to return to the experience of in-person shopping.
The State of the Industries
Right now, during the pandemic, many of these industries have opened in some capacity and with new restrictions in order to keep the businesses alive and some expect to surge post-pandemic. As we all adjust to a new normal, Retailers are expected to provide a easy and efficient store experience that customers love, while implementing many new rigorous procedures that prioritize the safety of store associates and customers.
Here are what some industries and what they are doing at the moment to keep their doors open:
- Dining out – Mainly outdoors or take-out, but many establishments have seen a 25% allowance indoors and more to come with areas that experience winter.
- Entertainment – (concerts, movies, theater, attractions and museums) Although the lights have gone dark in Hollywood, different parts of the business are slowly trying to reinvent themselves during this time of crisis. Movies and theaters are starting to open, attractions and museums have capacity restrictions along with face covering requirements and social distancing guidelines in place.
- Salons, spas and beauty establishments – there are capacity restrictions, sanitation requirements, and face covering requirements.
- Gyms, dance and yoga studios – there are capacity restrictions, sanitation requirements, and face covering requirements.
There is a pent-up desire for the social and experiential aspects of shopping: seeing merchandise or products first-hand, interacting with the retail environment, and personnel, especially now because that ability was taken from all of us in 2020. Customers know they can get what they ‘need’ by clicking; quarantining has created more of a desire for an ‘experience’. Retail – from banks to boutiques – will need to be prepared to meet these criteria:
- Making customers feel safe by following sanitary and spacing guidelines
- Clients want a low-touch, hygienic environment – from contactless pay to automatic doors.
- Giving shoppers an experience that feels unique to your brand – from atmosphere to customer-service.
- Authenticity – connecting your brand to the community and the world at-large.
How can you create a welcoming environment that will bring people back to your brick and mortar?
While there will be demand in these consumer segments, customers will have expectations for hygiene, safety and health. Consumers have and will continue to support the businesses and brands they love. However, even well-loved, established brands will benefit from a re-assessment – from brand image and messaging to point-of-sale environment, customers are craving a new, fresh, approach; stream-lined processes; minimal touch points; brands that exhibit a genuine concern for customer well-being; and offering something fun and unique.
Positive Signs Ahead
Helping your facility reopen safely, there are many solutions for distancing, wayfinding, and signage available. Shoppers can find safety measures that have become familiar in the COVID-19 age like:
- Plexiglass barriers at registers
- Signs and floor decals encouraging physical distancing
- Hand sanitizer stations
The most common examples of what have been implemented so far to provide a safer experience for those visiting one of their favorite stores.
In anticipation of the re-openings and the return of customers, this is the time to spruce up your interior environments too. From bold, bright large-scale graphics to custom built architectural elements, ID Associates can help you create a one-of-a-kind customer experience that also satisfies the need for healthy practices! And, don’t forget signs that reference safe practices!
Drive-Thru, Curb-side, contact-less pick-up will remain popular
Research shows 56 percent of customers are influenced by menu boards, and 74 percent said an easy-to-read setup is a top priority. Operators talk to length about streamlining the ordering process. And one of the quickest routes to a positive ROI might just be where diners do the vast majority of their purchasing. Restaurant brands should invest in easier-to-read menu boards. A digital board will provide your location with the ability to change a menu item with ease, but you also need the readability as well. Design and function go hand-in-hand.
In addition to the readability of the menu boards, online apps for many restaurants have become popular when it comes to contact-less pick-up. As a retailer, be sure to have proper signage that is displayed at your location when a patron has to come pickup their food from your location.
Some suggestions are:
- Signage Displayed on Doors
- Walkways with arrows to show the flow of traffic
- Food cubbies or shelving to hold your order or designated tables at the entrance
Don’t forget your Exterior Signage – Time to Spruce it up
Is your exterior signage looking dull or dirty? ID Associates Maintenance team will restore your sign to its original brightness with a cleaning and replacement lighting components. Customized maintenance plans are available for proactive care against simple wear & tear, and can include inspection, painting, lighting component replacement and cleaning. Our field service is a phone call away with quick and responsive emergency repairs to restore your sign nationwide. Most issues can be resolved within 48-72 hours. If you haven’t made the switch to LED’s now is the perfect time. LEDs are brighter, save money and last longer.
Keeping your facilities business-ready is always a never-ending job
ID Associates systems help you achieve confidence by simplifying your newly complicated and important cleaning routines with efficient, easy-to-use effective solutions for routine cleaning and maintenance, wayfinding and communication. Learn how ID Associates can help you increase productivity, avoid downtime, and clearly communicate expectations, keeping your building clean while facilitating regular business operations.
When you’re drafting your post-pandemic recovery plans, talk to an ID Associates expert. Our signs can be used to announce, advertise, excite and inspire. Creative signage can be a high impact, yet low cost solution to your post-pandemic success!