How to Manage Your Retail Business During COVID-19

Though we often picture bricks-and-mortar stores when we think of retail, the truth is that it’s possible to reach customers wherever they are. Whether you sell clothes or candles, bicycles or hot sauce, following some of these business tips can help your company adapt to the current situation.

We’ve compiled retail business tips as well as industry resources to show how to grow and maintain your business right now.

Communicate with your customers

Keeping your customers informed is critical to the health of your business now and in the future. Here are a few ways to maintain your business:

Update your hours

Set your new opening hours for each of your locations to let customers know when you have reduced hours or are closed. You can update your location hours through Square.

Post updates on your website

If you’re changing the way you operate, make sure you post that information on your website, your social profiles, and your review site profiles.

Send emails and post on social media

Keep your customers up to date to let them know how they can support your business, what your new hours are, or if you’re closing for a period of time. Communicate that information on your social channels, through email, or wherever else your customers engage with you.

Adapt your offering

You’ll need to continue to create revenue, despite all of the changes happening. Here are a few retail business tips you can employ:

Sell digital gift cards

Online gift cards can help increase cash flow while your business is closed. You can quickly set up an online ordering page for gift cards and then promote them to your loyal customers who want to show their support.

Evaluate your products

New restrictions are changing the way that people live and what they buy. Dig into the latest trends or survey your loyal customers to determine what their needs are right now. If some of your products meet those needs, make sure to promote them more. If your products don’t meet those needs, evaluate if it makes sense to develop a product that does.

Try contactless selling

The Irish government has strongly encouraged social distancing. Here are a few ways you can comply while you continue to sell:

Sell your products online

Connect with your customers in a new way with a website that showcases your products online. You can add all your inventory or choose to highlight products that are particularly relevant right now. Be sure to promote your new online store via email and social media to your loyal customers. Learn how to start selling online.

Accept collection or delivery orders

There are ways to deliver your products other than posting. You might consider offering customers a click-and-collect or local delivery option when ordering online, on the phone, or through email.

Sell on social media

Not only should you be communicating with your regular customers on social media, but you should be selling to them (and to new customers) on the platform. You can use Square Payment Links to generate a simple online checkout link or button. Just create a link with your item name and a price, and share the link on your existing website, social media channels or in an email.

Limit in-person contact

If you are selling in person, you’ll want to make sure that you’re limiting contact as much as possible. You might try a remote payment option like invoices.

Take payments from your computer

If you prefer, you can take an order over the phone or from an email, and key in card payment details. You can create and manage orders with Square for Retail or your other point of sale.

Other retail resources

Small Business Advice Programme: A free and confidential service designed to offer mentoring to small businesses and support their growth. It covers areas like business planning, marketing and PR.

Retail Ireland: Providing a voice to Irish retailers, this trade body offers insights, events and represents the sector.

Irish Business and Employers Confederation: Ireland’s largest business representation group offers a COVID-19 hub with advice on managing the workplace.