This week’s Retail Resources blog post is a collection of the best content and resources that I have seen in the past week. I hope it will help you navigate the coronavirus pandemic. This week, I share information on leadership, interesting data and employment information. It’s a fun post that should help you feel better.
- 1 Retailers are rethinking their operations to increase resilience
- Jennifer Thornton, CEO at 304 Coaching, will host a free online workshop called Leading Edge that offers executive leadership training. Thornton, who was formerly a prominent retail executive, offers the series free of charge to help the community. This week’s workshops include ” Building Better Relationships through Conversation” on Tuesday, May 5, at 12 p.m. EDT/9 a.m. PST, and ” The Golden Ladder Network with Susan Collins on Thursday, May 7, at 12 p.m. EDT/9 AM PT. Register here. In your email, you’ll get all the details and a link to a Workbook that you can follow along.
- Harvard Business Publishing created an online portal to provide information and resources for business leaders in order to manage their teams and communicate well during uncertain and challenging times. This portal offers advice on how to maintain collaboration, productivity, and learning among remote teams during this crisis.
- NPD is a market research company that tracks consumer purchases from over 290,000 retail outlets and e-commerce platforms. It has now created a COVID-19 hub which provides up-to-the-minute information on how the virus affects consumer spending. Civic Science is NPD’s partner. They have started a blog with interesting data on consumers and COVID-19. Register here to receive NPD’s weekly webcast that discusses key shifts in retail spending and consumer spending, based on NPD’s sales data and expert commentary.
- Pepperjam is an affiliate marketing solution provider. They have created several assets to assist the entire online marketing community in navigating the uncertainties that COVID-19 brings. Pepperjam’s Pepperjam Affiliate Marketing Sales Index provides trend information about daily gross merchandise sales for all verticals, year-over-year. Its How to Optimize With Affiliate Partners Amid COVID-19 ebook offers information about opportunities with Pepperjam publisher partners. And its Customer Spend Strategy Survey eBook offers data on the effects of COVID-19 on marketing spend, strategy, and prominence.
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Information about Job Search and Hiring.
- LinkedIn continues to update a listing of companies currently hiring. A ” Coronavirus Resources Hub” was also launched by the social network. This hub helps users find work, recruit talent, and receives advice on how to navigate the ever-changing world of work. LinkedIn also features a list listing volunteer opportunities for organizations at the forefront of the global coronavirus epidemic.
- This was mentioned before , but I thought I would return to it: Adam Rose, a well-known ecommerce recruiter, has created a Google Sheet listing names of ecommerce professionals who lost their jobs due to the current crisis. It is possible to create a spreadsheet that lists all those affected and can be shared on LinkedIn. You can view the entire list . Adam can be reached on LinkedIn if you’d like to join the list. The good news is that Adam stated that the list was being routed to the right people, and many of those on it have found employment already!
- You are looking for something to do with your friends, colleagues, or on your own? Airbnb offers an Online Experiences website that allows people who practice social distancing or stay at home to find activities they can do remotely. You can find activities such as cooking and bartending classes, virtual bike tours and Korean makeup tutorials. There are also comedy shows and lessons in drawing.
- Kids in Parks’ e-Adventures online activity program could be the perfect solution for families with children. Families can use their smartphones or tablets to participate in a series of scavenger hunt-style activities within their yards, neighborhoods, and green spaces. To earn prizes like a nature journal or patch, backpack, magnifying lens, and patch, children can log their participation. This sounds like a great way to spend Saturday or Sunday.
Retailers are rethinking their operations to increase resilience
The COVID-19 epidemic continues to have a devastating effect on the global economy. Retail has been particularly hard hit. Many retailers are still experiencing store closures as a result of the shift in consumer behavior. However, it is imperative that retailers develop a plan to allow them to adapt their operations and protect customers and employees when they reopen. In the short-term, many of these retailers can make minor changes to their operations (retail shops, distribution centers, etc. Some retailers can make minor changes to their operations, while others will need to overhaul all of their processes and systems.
It is important to understand the context for these changes by highlighting the key guidelines that were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO), and how retailers can pivot their strategies to address them.
Maintaining Social Distancing Rules
Many stores that are considered “essential” such as pharmacies and grocery stores, have already implemented social distancing measures. Simple changes like placing tape on the floor to remind customers to keep within the six-foot threshold can be made. This is done at all points where there are queues, such as at the cashier or customer service desk. In some cases, the maximum occupancy of a store was reduced and enforced with door greeters and automatic counting devices.
Implementing infection protection measures
Hand hygiene is an important aspect of reducing the spread and severity of the coronavirus. Many retailers offer hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and gloves for customers and shoppers in order to promote good hand hygiene. Retailers should look to the healthcare sector for guidance in the long-term. One example of an innovative solution from HITactics is Bluetooth sensors and/or tags, which link to mobile apps with context aware alerts. These alerts are audible reminders that you should wash your hands regularly and remind you to follow other hand washing procedures.
Reduce Face-to-Face contact and activities that require physical touch
Another area where there are high potential for infection is the checkout process. This is due to direct contact with customers. Companies are trying to find ways to minimize this intrusiveness while still allowing for positive human experiences. Clear Plexiglas dividers have been quickly adopted by many grocery stores to separate the area between customers and cashiers. To improve the “no touch” environment, and to make transactions safer for all parties, retailers who have been slow to accept contact-less payments with physical credit cards or mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are now accelerating the implementation of these technologies. Long-term, retailers might consider investing in RFID technology to manage product stock and manage it. This investment will have a significant impact on both safety for customers and employees during touchless checkout.
Redesign Policies and Procedures with Ongoing Training
Retailers will be required to provide ongoing training programs that address changes in procedures. To ensure that employees feel confident and safe in their work, these trainings should be conducted frequently. Wingspan, among others, is a digital platform that provides a single, easy-to-follow view of what is expected to protect customers and employees while in-store. These technologies are easily adaptable to meet changing guidelines and requirements. These learning solutions provide insights directly to mobile devices, and offer short, immediate learning to improve compliance rates.
Employers can take generous leave policies
These guidelines are intended to reduce the chance of infection and instill confidence in employees regarding the safety and security of their work environment. An infected worker spreading the virus at work should not cause employees to lose their job or wages. Retailers must instill confidence in employees. This will help to remove fear from employees and retailers.
There is a simple but crucial first step retailers should take when navigating the multitude of options and changes available to improve safety. They should first conduct a step-by-step review and identify any potential “hot spots” to improve safety and comfort. This critical step may seem to be focused on the immediate, but it should also consider the long-term with the goal of implementing safeguards in the customer experience. Safety is key, but it should not be detrimental to the customer experience, today or tomorrow.
Although I have discussed in-store operations above, it is becoming increasingly important to increase your digital presence and capabilities. As expectations have increased, it will be necessary to rethink how you serve customers at home. This won’t change after the pandemic. It will continue to accelerate in fact.
The pace of change has never been greater than now. However, companies who “seize” the moment and take action to “virus-proof” their operations will be stronger once we are out of this pandemic.
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