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Post-COVID-19, Reimagining Retail Part 1: Employee And Customer Safety

Keeping Retail Staff And Customers Safe In The COVID-19 Era

COVID-19 has caused substantial economic chaos, mandating significant changes to many industry sectors, and retail in particular. From iconic department stores to entertainment giants, COVID-19 has seemingly spared no one in its devastation. 

Mythos Group has been re-imagining what retail might look like, post-pandemic, and the paper I have authored on this topic provides practical guidance on some areas of consideration:

1. Employee and Customer Safety
2. Corporate Restructuring
3. Transition to Digital
4. Supply Chain Resiliency
5. Understanding Consumer Behavior

Public health and safety must come first, of course, and that is my focus here: 

Staying Safe In Brick And Mortar Stores

While we all optimistically look forward to the current pandemic slowing down and the development of a vaccine, there remains a possibility of variants of COVID-19 appearing seasonally, or of an entirely new pandemic; so smart retailers need to be thinking about adapting to a ‘new normal’, rather than a return to how things were. 

As retailers develop their plans for reopening, we recommend the following safety practices to create a safe and healthy environment for the employees to serve clients: 

  • Changing hours of operation to allow for deeper cleaning and sanitization
  • Conducting regular health screenings of employees
  • Providing face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizers for employees and customers
  • Installing dividers at the register
  • Promoting contactless payments
  • Increasing cleaning and sanitization frequencies
  • Creating space for social distancing of six feet or more, including limiting the number of customers and employees in the store
  • Pausing high-touch services and customer events
  • Offering contactless curbside services, and home deliveries
  • Keeping tried on or returned merchandise off the sales floor for a period of time to ensure that it is thoroughly disinfected
  • Modifying the fitting room experience:
  • Disinfecting the fitting room after each customer use
  • Waiting for a period of time before using a fitting room again

It goes without saying that all of these modifications have significant implications for the way brick and mortar retailers will need to operate in the future – but unless safety is considered first, there will be no future. 

Mythos Group’s white paper, Post-COVID-19, Reimagining The Retail Sector, contains more detail on this and other recommendations, and is available to download for free from Papers.