The COVID-19 Epidemic & Your Retail Store

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No one knows how the COVID-19 pandemic is going to play out, but there is a consensus forming around certain issues that are important for retailers to know and adapt to.

1- The pandemic won’t be over soon.

Many factors will affect how long the pandemic lasts, but it clearly won’t be over in a few weeks.

You need to plan for your store to be closed for a while. Stress test your projections and look at what a one, two even three month closure means to you store.

2- It won’t be over suddenly.

Life will return to normal slowly. People will be cautious. For most retailers that means that sales will come back gradually over many months. You need to plan for what that looks like in terms of buying and staffing.

3- There likely will be another wave of social distancing.

Our current efforts at social distancing is slowing the spread of the virus, but it won’t go away. After we relax our current social distancing there likely will be another flare up. Include the possibility of another closure in your planning.

4- At the end of the pandemic we are going to be in a recession.

There has been immense amounts of stimulus injected into the economy but that will keep us out of a depression, not out of a recession. Plan for a drop in sales once this is all over.

5- The world won’t change overnight.

Every futurist with a theory to push is in the media telling us that the world will never be the same. The reality is that societies change slowly and incrementally. There will be changes but they won’t be overnight. So, yes, customers will still need your store when this is over but be open to how their buying pattern may change over time.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for your store. And it is creating new opportunities. You will see competitors disappear, it will (finally) be easier to get good staff, there will be pent up demand after all this social isolation. The pie may shrink, but you can still increase your slice.

The trick is to get through this period of quarantine so you can take advantage of the opportunities.

In my next post I will provide tips and tools that will help you get through this challenging time.

If you have found this helpful or have any questions, please leave a comment.