Communication is Key: Planning the Return to Retail

Communication is Key: Planning the Return to Retail

Experts are telling us we are facing a new normal–possibly for the long haul–in how we manage our supply chains, connect to our customers, and conduct business. Looking past cost controls and into preparing for when this pandemic recedes is vital for retailers.

Reducing store staff addresses immediate health and cost concerns, but planning your strategy on how you are going to quickly hire (and rehire), onboard, and train staff when doors reopen is much harder than it sounds. The Wall Street Journal describes the process of reopening as “... fragile, partial and slow.” 

A solid communication strategy can make a major difference in how fast you return to revenue.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Training Retail Employees!

Addressing the Concerns of Returning Staff

Before you start bringing back your team exactly as before, you may have to consider that this really is a NEW normal, and things may be different. Keep these in mind as you plan your communications, and your staffing model.

Your employees will want to know about how certain global trends may affect things like shift availability, hours of operation, processes for them to follow, and more.  Remember to address hard realities directly to avoid breakroom conversations.

Some thought-starters for your communications may include:

  • How consumer habits may have changed
  • Addressing needs of Team members who may have child-care challenges
  • Whether demand for certain kinds of products may have been either accelerated, or postponed
  • Geography - if you have multiple locations, they may have different rules
  • Safety. Most obviously, you must keep your returning workers safe, and clearly outline how you plan to do that.

Keep staff informed

An essential part of your strategy should be to nurture existing relationships with departed store associates. Hopefully started in the furlough process, your retail workers need to think favorably of you as a company and believe in both your future and their future with you. 

Sincerely and frequently staying in contact with people is a time-tested way to nurture relationships and begin new ones. You can use tools that help you keep in touch en masse to furloughed and former retail employees, without violating “no work” rules.

In a recent post, we looked at best practices on how to keep in touch with your staff, including:

  • The importance of Recruitment Marketing
  • How Offboarding employees can help with rehiring
  • How you can continue to engage associates when you cannot visit them in-store

You can be successful in staying in contact with former employees, and potential new ones, if you: 1) have the right contacts 2) have robust technology to communicate, and later onboard them. 

How SellPro Can Help  

Our technology is a foundation retailers can use as a springboard to open communications back up, onboard, train, and get RSAs ready to get back to work.

With SellPro you can:

  • Proactively engage store associates via existing forums to allay fears and concerns 
  • Have two-way engaging chats with "future" employees 
  • Enable associates to get certified on required courses before doors open
  • Create webinars for further engagement and communication
  • Start your hiring/rehiring strategy before doors open
  • Create a dynamic onboarding process  

There will be pressure to move quickly as “stay at home” orders are lifted. Many retailers will choose to ramp up fast to get back on a path of recovery.  Retailers that are currently closed can make use of our engagement tools free now to be ready.

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Additional Resources:

Touch me, feel me: Creating Retail Experiences That Beat Online Shopping
Communication is Key: Planning the Return to Retail
Thinking Beyond The Crises - How To Bring Back Your Retail Staff
Ultimate Guide to Training Retail Employees

Written by SellPro

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