Boss Lady

Brick and mortar business locations can survive a pandemic


Running a brick and mortar business already comes with its own set of complications, but when you throw a pandemic into the mix, those varying factors can get even more complex. For instance, one of the biggest issues with brick and mortar businesses is getting foot traffic through the door. With shelter in place, group size, and curfew restrictions across the country, consumers are no longer feeling as safe as they once did shopping shoulder to shoulder with strangers.

How a brick and mortar business can survive a pandemic

But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to run your brick and mortar business; it just means that you have your work cut out for you must make a few adjustments. With that mind, here are a few ways to run your brick and mortar business during the pandemic:

Adapt an online strategy

Every brick and mortar business needs to adopt an online strategy. There’s no way around it. If you don’t already have a website, you can easily get started with a free or low-cost design theme. From here, simply plug and play, replacing text and images and customizing to your liking. If you aren’t already doing so, sell your products online, too, offering shipping and curbside pickup.

Take high-resolution photos of your product and work with an image retoucher to get them ready for an e-commerce website (you can find plenty of cost-efficient graphic designers on freelance sites like Upwork).

Your website should clearly list your hours of operation and how your brick and mortar business has adapted to COVID-19. Furthermore, set up a Google Listing so that potential visitors can easily glean all relevant information through Google’s useful card-based search engine display feature.

Allow curbside pickup

Curbside pickup is a strategy that many brick and mortar business stores have adopted since the coronavirus, from retail outlets to restaurants. Curbside pickup allows customers to drive up to your brick and mortar location and receive their order without having to leave the safety and comfort of their vehicle.

Of course, a website capable of ordering capabilities is a prerequisite. If executed correctly, you can make your curbside experience seamless—and even preferable. You can use a platform like Shopify to quickly set up an online menu. On the other hand, WordPress offers several plugins that make it easy to set up online shopping or create an online menu for ordering food.

Cleaning stations

As a brick and mortar business, you want your customers to feel safe and healthy when they come into your location. As such, it’s important to set up miniature cleaning stations, particularly at cash registers, entrances, and exits. Hand sanitizer, gloves, or alcohol wipes are safe bets. You may even choose to stock extra masks for free or for a price for those customers that might forget it.

Change your store layout

The harsh reality is, social distancing measures aren’t going away any time soon. To comply with federal and local regulations, rearrange your brick and mortar business layout to accommodate guests. For instance, restaurants are removing tables to allow more space between parties and going the extra mile with plexiglass barriers.

If you have the funds to do so, you might even implement touchless technology throughout your store, like contactless payments and gesture-based soap dispensers and hand dryers. The overall idea is to optimize the space and allow guests to properly maintain social distancing.

Check the fine print

Any time you make a big investment, it’s imperative that you check the fine print. Commercial rental applications are easy enough to fill out, but the least clauses included can be difficult to navigate. For example, did you know if you rented a commercial condo property in a mixed-use building, your business might be subject to rules from a local homeowners association?

According to Ardent, a property management company in Miami, mixed-use condo facilities can include a combination of entertainment and retail venues as well as condos, and it causes some complaints if you aren’t prepared to understand and adhere to the rules set forth by management.

During the pandemic, many landlords are allowing leniency if your brick and mortar business is struggling, and you should stay up to date on your local laws. For instance, in the state of New Jersey, landlords are prohibited from removing tenants until March 2021 and utility shutoff are prohibited as well. Check out how your area is affected and learn more about what is and isn’t permitted.

About Susan Alvarado'

Susan Alvarado is a business trainer and advisor specializing in HR and communications strategies

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