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Covid19

How the Coronavirus could affect your retail business and what steps you can take

By Orla McDonnell Retail Specialist March 2020
Less than 2 Minute Read.

Has the world gone mad? Should I be worried as a small retailer? What can I do to minimise the impact on my retail store, if anything?

No matter what you believe, we are in uncharted waters and we don’t know for sure what may happen. It really doesn’t matter if you are a brick & mortar store, Online store or even Amazon. If you are sourcing any products from China there will be a supply impact.

However, as more and more cases are confirmed each day in Ireland, you need to take action. As the saying goes “hope for the best, plan for the worst”.

Here are 5 areas that are a potential threat to your retail business

1. Supply Chain Disruptions– you buy a lot of your range from China. Now you won’t be able to get the products and YOU will have gaps in your Christmas Range to fill.

2. Trade Disruption – customers will stop going to the shops to minimise their potential risk to the virus.

3. Financial – customers may stop spending even for a limited amount of time, This could have a massive impact on your bottom line.

4. You – what if you and your family are affected?

5. Team – What if any or all of your team are affected in some way and this affects their ability to work?

What can you do? Here’s a few ideas.

Source local merchandisers – Look for goods that are manufactured in your area or on the island of Ireland. It is a good time to try some new suppliers and merchandise and maybe offer something different? This is super important as the gaps in your range may not appear for several months. You need to aggressively and actively be looking for multiple sources of your best selling products NOW. It’s a great time to shop local.

Direct your customers – Use social media to showcase your products through video or live Facebook selling events such as giving tips on how to protect yourself, 10 ways to wear a scarf, current trends or maybe you have an abundance of hand sanitiser in stock for sale. Direct your customers to how they can buy from you and arrange delivery. Tell them you are taking measures to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure you have the correct measure in place.

Eliminate wasteful spending – As trade may be slow, it is a great time to finally shop around and get the best deals on your shop insurance, bank charges, software packages that you use etc. Ask if any of the employees would like to take some unpaid leave? Holidays? Carry out staff training.

You – Why do they always advise you to put your own mask on first? You are no good to your retail team, store or your family if you don’t take care of yourself. You can’t help other people. First thing take care of yourself to enable you to effectively run your store.

Team – Talk! Get talking to your team and brainstorm. Ask them for ideas on:

What can we do to keep sales up, people coming to the store etc?
How can they minimise the risk of coming into contact with the virus?
What do you need to provide for them to keep them safe? Gloves when handling cash!
Can they recommend any new lines of product, local suppliers etc.
If they come up with the solutions they are more likely to buy into them

The full effect of the Coronavirus may not be felt on your retail business for several months however you can be proactive and start planning.

Speak to your fellow retailers and work together. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for any supports they can offer ref possible suppliers etc.

For more information and further advice of the coronavirus:

https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html for up-to-date advice

Good luck!

Contact us for a free consultation today on https://www.orlamcdonnell.com/contact/