Chapter 5: Keep holiday shoppers and employees extra-safe in your store

Learn how to create safer in-store experiences this holiday season to build trust with shoppers and employees.
From special appointments to curbside pickup, peak in-store shopping days will look different this year. Every extra step retailers take to support employees and implement contactless options for shoppers will mean a more successful season. Here’s what every retailer needs to do.
Shoppers love supporting small businesses — and this year, options that prioritize safety matter. When asked what small businesses can do to make them feel safe, the majority said more online transactions and customer services. 
Proactively communicate updates to shoppers

Publish your safety practices and precautions online. Help shoppers feel safe by being transparent and communicative with updates as the COVID-19 landscape evolves.

Use broadcast advertising to disseminate timely, important information en masse, such as updated store hours. It’s ideal for reaching as many shoppers as possible with information that is too pressing for email, phone, or social media.

Lastly, distribute trusted information through a personalized self-service resource center as well. 

Learn how with Salesforce Self-Service Community.
Abide by social distancing guidelines
Sixty-two percent of people would personally require social distancing measures to be in place prior to returning to a store. Regularly check CDC and state guidelines, along with safety resources available through the NRF.
62% of people would personally want social distancing measures in stores
Lessen the chance of shoppers congregating. Minimize floor displays and overall merchandise, especially near the store’s launch zone and entrance points, keeping more products in the back for fulfillment. Create visible safeguards with floor markers for social distancing. Limit seating areas. And provide clear signage to keep shoppers safe.
Monitor employee health and wellness

Launch a Workplace Command Center to monitor, adjust, and manage your offices and store locations based on public and private data. Survey team members with the Employee Wellness Check and gain insight into wellness data by geography, location, and workforce health status in a simple dashboard. Plus, customize surveys based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Gather qualitative data as well. Ask team members how they are feeling going into the holidays and about their experiences throughout the season. Use this as an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, such as a process.

Provide clear communications and updates on new guidelines to ensure everyone is safe. Keep information available on an employee portal and send regular alerts via SMS.
Learn how Salesforce can help you keep employees and shoppers safe this holiday season. 
Keep PPE, sanitizer, and cleaning supplies readily available

Provide every store employee with a high-quality face mask and gloves. Have extra on hand whenever they need new ones and keep PPE available for shoppers too.

Sixty-five percent of people expect stores to provide hand sanitizer during this time, and that may never change. Put hand-sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, including your store entrance, fitting rooms, and checkout. Use disinfecting wipes on surfaces after every customer interaction as well.

65% of people expect stores to provide hand sanitizer
Offer special holiday shopping times
Just as grocers and big box retailers set special shopping times for individuals at high risk for contracting the virus, designate the first hour of the day for those in vulnerable groups to safely shop for the holidays. In fact, 42% of people expect adjusted store hours during this time — and that expectation is likely here to stay into the holidays.
42% of people expect adjusted store hours during this time
In addition to special hours, use tools like Waitlist (formerly known as Lightning Scheduler and launching August 2020) to give shoppers the option to book appointments for their holiday shopping. This allows you to better manage capacity and assures shoppers that your store is adhering to safety guidelines.
Offer contactless checkout and returns
Reduce the number of interactions at the cash wrap with contactless payment options. Update your POS systems to accept mobile wallets (Apple Pay and PayPal), wearables, and tap-and-go credit cards. Consider self-checkout and a contactless return kiosk, which Nordstrom put in place in 2019 for shoppers to easily return items on their own.
Offer schedule flexibility for employees
Be sensitive to each employee’s situation. They may be caring for a loved one or have a pre-existing condition. Offer flexible hours and, if available, the option for overtime. Optimize schedules with a Shift Management capability for better visibility into capacity and planning. Employees also have control over their availability, so managers can stagger and schedule shifts based on who is able to work.
Keep morale high
This is a holiday season like no other, so ensure everyone in your store is in good spirits. Set sales targets for employees in which winners receive a reward. Offer friends and family discounts or shopping hours. Give special shoutouts to employees who go the extra mile every day. Shoppers who know companies support their employees’ health and wellbeing are more likely to purchase and build loyalty.
Make every moment of this holiday season a little extra special for shoppers with Salesforce for Retail. 
Conclusion: Your next steps for holiday 2020 planning

While there is still much to learn about how the health crisis will affect the busiest shopping season of the year, one thing is certain: Every extra step retailers take now will ensure a safe holiday season for shoppers. Pay close attention to what shoppers want. Stay flexible, agile, and open to changing needs and guidelines, and be ready to pivot quickly.

To stay up to date on everything you can do to stay a step ahead, sign up for our email series.

For more tips on how to build trust with today’s shoppers, check out “The New Retail Playbook.”


More Resources

Write a COVID-19 V2MOM
Create an actionable corporate strategy for reopening your office locations.
How to Source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Discover a general framework for sourcing PPE for your organization’s needs.
Create a COVID-19 Employee FAQ
Make a one-stop-shop on your COVID response and office reopening procedures.

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