A New Time with New Rules is Coming
Are You Ready?
No one knows for sure when businesses will be opening and social isolation guidelines will be relaxed. Chances are that it will vary by your location and the number of COVID -19 cases in your community. One thing is for sure, we are getting closer to returning to a “new normal.”
Safety Plan: When that time comes, you will need to be prepared to conduct business in a manner which makes your customers feel safe and secure. Don’t wait for your business to reopen before implementing those changes. Many good examples exist in the “essential” businesses now open to the public. You may want to use those examples and implement a system which keeps customers a safe distance from each other, yet allows you to design projects and interact.
No one knows exactly what the guidelines will be, but create your own now, before you reopen so that your customers know you have a safety plan in place. If you will be wearing gloves and masks, decide that now and what your policy will be in working with the public. This will allow you to gather all the materials you need and make any physical changes to your showroom that are necessary. If you will be implementing online design, curbside pick-up or delivery services, now is the time to hammer out those details. Standards and procedures will change as time goes on, so don’t be too concerned about devising the perfect plan; just have a plan in place now so that you are ready.
Marketing: Many shops will very likely be extremely busy once the public is allowed to resume shopping – another good reason for being ready with all your changes before you reopen. We will all want to take advantage of these opportunities when this happens. Remember to continue consistent marketing throughout these times so that you will be on the minds of your customers once they can visit you again. Right now is the perfect time to educate and inform your customers instead of pushing the sale. E-newsletters and social media marketing are a great way to reach your customers while under stay at home orders.
These past several weeks have been devastating to many of us, but soon opportunities will resurface. Those who are prepared will be in a position to benefit from customers eager to feel normal again. Prepare now for reopening! Once restrictions are lifted, you must be ready for the “new normal.”
“Those who are prepared will be in a position to benefit.”
During the stay at home orders, I was allowed to do business at the front door (accept payments, exchange projects). I worked with customers via phone calls and text messages. This allowed me to do 29 frame jobs in the month of April (normal is about 100). I was allowed to reopen May 4 to 1/2 of the buildings capacity, which really doesn’t affect us because I rarely have more than 2 customers at a time. The first day reopened I had 14 orders placed, and took in over 30 for the week. This week I have had over 30 come in already, so the customers are coming back strong. My two work stations are already more than 6′ apart. I wear a mask when customers come in, and about 2/3 of the customers are wearing masks. I wipe down sample pieces and surfaces (and the door handle) between customers. We seem to be falling into a new routine ok. Now if I could just get framing supplies here faster!