Business as Unusual: Navigating the New Normal
As we round the turn going into the home stretch, I think we’re all looking forward to the finish line—whatever that might be.
Against all odds, many of us fared well during the pandemic. We certainly learned a lot, and for many of us, it was a realization. Yet, despite the challenges, we were able to strengthen relationships, discover new audiences through ecommerce, and find new ways to delight our loyal customers with products and services tailored to their health and culinary needs.
The Future May Be Hazy, But It’s Coming
But what does the future hold? Sometimes it feels like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s doubtful things will ever go back to the way they were before March 2020, but in many ways, maybe that’s okay.
Since everybody loves a good checklist, here are a few actionable tips and prompts to get you through the next few months of transition:
Whether you’re working in a retail or wholesale environment, your employees are your most valuable asset. Ensuring they have what they need to thrive is vital, as disruption can throw anybody off their game.
- Provide a safe work environment. The safety of individual workers is as critical as the safety of the workforce as a whole. Provide your workers with everything they need to feel safe, including barriers, PPE, and a solid safety policy they can hang their hat on.
- Engage employees in policymaking. Everybody has a different level of anxiety and tolerance around COVID restrictions. Sit down with your staff and have an open discussion, and establish safety policies that everybody can get behind. If they understand why certain rules are in place, they’ll be in a better place to enforce them.
- Lead with empathy. Make sure your staff knows how much you care. They are all likely dealing with their own individual concerns and might have a hard time coming back to work. Be an active listener, a problem-solver, and prioritize good mental health. When they know you care, they feel valued and will reward you with loyalty.
Even when your store is fully open again, it’s unlikely we’ll see much of a change in online shopping habits. People who never shopped online before are now hooked, so it’s important to keep your store up-to-date, your selections fresh, and your service operating at its peak.
- Ensure your online store is secure. A secure shopping experience builds trust, so be sure you are leveraging all the security options available to you.
- Invest in online backups. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort building your ecommerce presence, so don’t risk data loss by failing to back up. Having a current backup minimizes downtime—and will save you a lot of headaches!
- Use your data to improve the customer experience. One of the biggest advantages to doing business online is the customer data you collect. Analytic data shows you how customers interact with your site and will help you identify where you can do better. An excellent customer experience will keep them coming back.
We’re always here to support you! Check back often for more tips and articles to help you and your business thrive.
- Meagan Bobb