Months have passed since the government first sanctioned stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of COVID-19. While the threat still lingers, restrictions have been eased and shops are beginning to open once more. However, the pandemic has drastically changed the way people interact with stores and buy products. The retail industry has to adapt to this new reality just as restaurants have.
Retailers need to employ new store renovations to ensure the safety of both customers and employees as well as encourage customers to come in and look at your wares.
How Is COVID-19 Transmitted?
COVID-19, a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is spread by a carrier through sneezing or coughing. The virus which is contained within the expelled droplets then enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus can also permeate through indirect means such as touching a surface or object that contains infected particles. Once the person uses his unwashed hand to touch his eyes, nose or mouth, the virus will enter the body and the infection will begin.
As for now, this is the current understanding of the transmission of the coronavirus. More information will be released in the future as medical research regarding the virus progresses.
The nature of its transmission makes it a necessity for commercial establishments to step up the safety measures of their stores.
Renovation Tips and Considerations
Changes must be made to your retail outlet to accommodate this new trend of consumer behaviour. The new normal renovations that are going to be in place must promote a retail experience that is both safe and enjoyable at the same time.
Here are some suggestions on how this should be done:
1.Gather Data First
While it’s easy to just follow the trend most retail outlets are doing, it’s important that you gather data regarding your own store before you start with renovations for the pandemic. The information you get will help you make the right space planning decisions and help avoid unnecessary expenses and compromises.
As far as data is concerned, focus on the following:
- Foot traffic
Knowing how much foot traffic your store gets will give you valuable data on the following:
- Peak hours and days
- Areas of the shop that attracts the most customers
- Consumer reaction to your shop’s atmosphere
The information you gather will help you determine product placement, space allocation for browsing, and fixtures that will be in place.
- Store Occupancy
Each region has its own regulations on the maximum number of people that can occupy a space at the same time. This will help you determine layout options for your shop.
- The Number of Employees Each Shift
Because of social distancing guidelines, the number of staff that will be in your store will have to be reduced. Plan out the number of employees necessary for each shift and place them in strategic areas of your retail outlet.
- Best-Selling Products
Since the number of customers has been reduced, it’s always best to gather data on your shop’s top-performing merchandise and focus on those. This will help you determine product placement, stock orders, and shelf space.
2.Opt for Flexible Renovations
While most retail outlets have to comply with the demands of a post-COVID-19 world, it’s not always going to be that way. In retail, change is always dependent on trends and customer expectations.
Instead of more permanent bricks-and-mortar changes, aim for renovations that allow store layouts to be easily modified. Furthermore, opt for modern modular store fixtures and renovations for the best results.
PT General Contractor Inc. can provide you with services that help you achieve a flexible store layout that suits your business needs.
3.Build Trust by Communicating Safety Efforts
It’s important to let consumers know what to expect inside your shop before they step in. This is done by using easy-to-understand infographics in your storefront portraying how to do proper social distancing as well as wearing protective gear such as face masks.
This will help build trust with your customers because you are showing that your store is committed to consumer safety and cleanliness.
4.Make Room for Social Distancing and Health and Safety Equipment
When planning your new layout, you need to include social distancing as well as health and safety equipment into the equation. Make sure that your store aisles and pathways are wide enough for your customers to walk through without bumping into other people. One way aisles is a perfect solution for this since it helps eliminate bottlenecks and speed up the shopping process.
In addition, have contractors install plexiglass on check out counters to help create a physical barrier between staff and shoppers. Having hygiene areas where people can dispense hand sanitizers are also a good way of keeping your shop germ free.
5.Install Vertical Shelving to Maximize Space
If you have limited shop space, providing enough room for social distancing and your merchandise is going to be a problem. To solve this dilemma, have your contractor, like PT General Contractor Inc., install vertical shelving to maximize space.
In addition to the increase in space, vertical shelving has other benefits such as:
- Gives your shop a minimalist look.
- Makes it easier for customers to see what products you offer
- With proper merchandise arrangement, it can easily catch the customer’s eye and entice them to visit your shop.
6.Eliminate door handles and doorknobs
Due to the fear of indirect virus transmission, most customers are increasingly reluctant to touch doorknobs and handles. There are various ways to approach this problem:
- Install automatic doors.
- Opt for door types that can easily be opened by pushing.
- If your shop is inside an air-conditioned area, keep the doors open.
7.Have the Option for Curbside Pickup
The curbside pickup option has been around for a while, but during the pandemic, it exploded in popularity. Customers can simply phone in their orders and drive to the store to pick up their orders.
For most shops, curbside pickup can be done near the sidewalk or in the parking area. However, retailers can opt to have a small shed that serves as a claiming station installed outside the store where their orders can be placed until the customer arrives. This saves the customer time and reduces the long queues since staff don’t need to run to the store to deliver orders.
As retailers slowly reopen across the country, retailers must adapt to safety protocols for the threat of COVID-19 still lingers. These new renovations ensure that both your customers and staff are safe from infection as well as provide a fulfilling shopping experience.
If you want quality renovations for businesses that’s worth your investment, turn to trusted contractors. Get in touch with PT General Contractor Inc. We’ll be happy to work with you on your ideas and provide you with the best possible service. Call us at (416) 757-9100.