A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic rocked our world. Our jobs, our economy, and our daily lives were all impacted by the virus and the regulations and policies that followed it. Now, as regulations begin to lift, vaccinations become more widespread, and people receive stimulus checks, pent-up consumers are flocking back from mandated isolation to populate brick-and-mortar stores for in-person spending.
Many are calling this emerging behavior “revenge spending.” We’ve seen similar shopping habits in China as well as here in local retail sales after the last round of stimulus checks. Innovative retailers that have survived the pandemic are expected to see a windfall gain from the gradual reopening of the US and consumers willing to spend money.
As the federal government distributes stimulus checks to previously confined populations of Americans, we can expect a spike in increased spending in our stores. Here are a few ways that retailers can prepare for consumer revenge spending.
Retail looks a lot different in a post-pandemic world, regardless of what you’re selling. Retail brands need to be ready for anything. It is essential to realign your company quickly through effective communications. Some brands that were hit the hardest had to furlough employees. Most of those employees don’t have email addresses, making it difficult to stay in contact, remain engaged, and let them know when it’s time to bring them back to work. We understand now more than ever how important it is to be able to reach every single associate.
Retailers who are aligned throughout their entire organization will pivot quickly and remain nimble while balancing the increase in shopper traffic with the safety of employees.
Maintain Focus on Health & Safety Compliance
With safety top of mind, it has never been more important to be able to track what’s happening at stores and maintain a constant feedback loop. Ensure you can generate compliance reports to see who read critical messages and marked tasks complete and which store teams are in the red. With task tracking and reporting, you can ensure that you know who your top performers are and which stores might need additional support. This is becoming increasingly important as stores reopen while staying mindful of critical health and safety policies and procedures.
Here at Retail Zipline, we believe that the key to business agility and associate safety lies in communication. In fact, we know that it’s true because the data supports it. Our Health and Safety Compliance report shows that retailers that don’t use communication software underperform those that do across multiple categories such as friendliness, signage, traffic, and safety. While any solution is better than no solution, Zipline customers outperform the competition. Why? Brands that use Zipline have put the right practices in place to keep the fleet safe.
Survey Stores to Understand Sentiment
In order to survive and emerge successful on the other side of any crisis, we need to tap into our empathy on a broader level. While navigating unpredictable events, brands must lead with empathy.
As we have been weathering this storm together, we all have suffered and worried in our own ways. We’re worried about how our families will adapt to the “new normal.” We’re worried about the health and safety of our workplaces. Even with a stimulus to boost our bank accounts, we’re worried about the economy. During change and stress, your employees want to share their feelings and feel heard. Associates at every level want to know that headquarters is listening.
Brands should collect feedback and conduct surveys, continually asking what store employees need to continue to work effectively. By identifying what information they’re lacking, you can communicate with them more effectively. Store associates and managers are your best resource for understanding local guidelines and customer sentiment so ask them what they’re seeing and what the company can be doing better to drive loyalty.
Simplify employee engagement and close the feedback loop with Surveys. Utilize Groups to roll up different county regulations that are changing by the minute. Since store associates are closest to the customers, they are your best resource for getting and keeping a pulse on sentiment at all times.
Help With Prioritization
Retail sales come down to quick, spur-of-the-moment decisions: how to engage with a customer, the knowledge to recommend the right product. It comes down to speed, agility, and knowledge. Now, amplify the speed of the retail sales environment with extra cash that consumers have in-hand, and add the revenge spending trend we’re expecting after a year in lockdown.
Frontline workers have a million things on their to-do lists, and a fraction of the time needed to complete those tasks. That's why it's critical to bring task management and communication together. A communication platform allows you to connect what stores need to know (the "why") with what stores need to do (the "what") in a way that gives them guidelines about what's expected of them, and a single source of truth. They know how their work supports the brand vision and provides necessary context that enables them to make better decisions at a moment’s notice.
Retail execution success starts with empowering workers with the proper tools so they can effectively prioritize and plan. But beyond that, teams need context to understand how to effectively prioritize their tasks.
We’ve learned a lot in the past year, and know that success amidst a pandemic requires agility (something retail isn’t historically famous for). The only way to stay nimble and move quickly through regulations, policy changes, and unpredictable changes is through good communication and a constant feedback loop that keeps the entire team aligned.
Fortunately, Zipline was built for this: our software makes it easy to target and personalize comms so that everyone, at each level of the organization, only sees information that applies to them and everyone gets to track execution
Want to discuss how you’re ensuring the safety of your store employees? With more than 13,000 stores using Zipline, we have a lot of best practices to share. Please reach out. We would love to chat.