Many states are now re-opening their economies—challenging
retailers and restaurant operators to adapt their locations to meet public
To understand those challenges, I spoke to Windstream Enterprise Retail customers about their plans for their stores. I came away from those conversations with four major learnings and many best practices.
Check your tech before you open
Many retailers that closed during the pandemic used the downtime to update and patch systems and applications. However, some store managers who closed up shop also shut down their POS systems and other technology. To ensure those apps start up again (and function correctly), follow these steps.
Meet your customers’ expectations for in-store and online services
As many consumers are still hesitant to go into stores, contactless commerce functions—like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, food delivery service, contactless payment and self-checkout—are here to stay. Here are some post-opening strategies to try.
Distribute your people and assets to protect your business
Centralized fulfillment centers, contact centers and store
distribution centers can be slowed down or shuttered if an employee shows up to
work with the virus. Lower the risk of a major impact on your operations in the
event of illness by maintaining decentralized distribution centers.
If a remote call center agent is sick you’re down one agent,
not an entire location. If you fulfill orders from your chain of stores and one
city reverts to shutting down non-essential businesses, close a few stores—not
an entire fulfillment center.
Foodservice and restaurant outlets can adapt this model by using remote or ghost kitchens that don’t have to seat diners to be profitable.
Avoid social shaming because of poor safety practices
Retailers and restaurants that don’t follow mandated guidelines, or have an outbreak traced back to their location, run the risk of being called out on social media. Follow these steps to protect your customers, employees and brand.
Between the rapidly shifting social priorities and the crash
in consumer spending during the COVID-19 crisis, most retail and restaurant
leaders would agree that their original 2020 technology roadmap has been turned upside down. As you pivot in a
post-pandemic world, I hope the ideas I’ve shared will help you open your
locations, serve your customers, protect your employees and thrive on.
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