Retail success stories to inspire your reopening
After many months of uncertainty, retailers across the country are beginning to catch a glimpse of life after lockdown. Many small and independent retailers have been hit hard by the coronavirus restrictions, but now many appear to be optimistic about future operations.
This isn’t to say retailers are expecting business as usual, far from it. Retailers everywhere have been working hard to adapt to the challenges of lockdown life and the incoming regulations for reopening. Despite these obstacles, some retailers have been making the most of lockdown to serve their customers and give back to their communities.
Stores are giving back
While many retail businesses are finding it hard to continue their regular operations, some are using this disruption to focus on giving back. Whether it’s an attempt to gain the good favor with shoppers for when their stores reopen or an intrinsically human expression of kindness in times of crisis, retailers across the country are putting up their money and products to help those in need.
Leading the news in their charitable donations are large retail chains like Banana Republic, who recently donated $20 million worth of unsold clothing to those in need, including the homeless and the skyrocketing masses of unemployed. The fashion chain joined Gap and Old Navy, who made similar contributions to the nonprofit Delivering Good.
It’s not just big brands that are giving back, but independent retailers too. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, dozens of small and independently-owned fashion chains already hit hard by the lockdown are finding ways to support Black Lives Matter and black-owned businesses. New York City fashion retailer Collina Strada is one of many businesses donating 100% of profits to support African Americans in need.
Stores are reopening now
While states are preparing for the new normal, businesses across the country are already putting their new rules of operation to the test.
Jaxon Grey, an independent fashion brand in Minneapolis, has announced a comprehensive set of guidelines to make sure customers and staff are safe in their recently reopened store. Their new rules include a maximum of 50% occupancy, masks and gloves for all staff, and mandatory rotation of clothes; anything taken into fitting rooms is moved to a quarantine area and steam cleaned before being reintroduced to shop floor stock.
Of course, rules on how retailers can operate vary by state, so it helps to check your local guidelines. The National Retail Federation has compiled all the various state regulations as part of its Operation Open doors campaign to support retailers reopening.
Stores are adapting to the restrictions
Even when given the all-clear to open up, many stores are still leaning towards alternative operations that avoid in-person shopping. For some businesses, continuing to operate distanced shopping options while opening up is essential to keep generating sales from customers unwilling to shop in-person. In May, a Washington Post survey found that 67% of shoppers would be uncomfortable entering a retail store after lockdown.
It may be wise for businesses to follow the example of stores like Sibley’s in Chandler, Arizona, who continue to offer curbside pickup despite resuming normal operations. Or Stronger Skatepark, a skating retailer in Portland, Oregon, who used the lockdown as an opportunity to put all its stock up for sale online. The skate shop is now open, but its owner is still encouraging eCommerce as an alternative to in-person shopping.
There is no one way to deal with reopening. The lockdown was such an unprecedented disruption that each business has to find its own ways of navigating it. That may mean supporting local causes, investing in online sales or reconsidering your brick-and-mortar operations. The one thing these retailers do have in common is caring for their employees, customers and the local community in these uncertain times.
About the AuthorMore Content by Tom Quinn