How to Offer Outdoor Shopping and Services During COVID-19

Offering outdoor shopping and services during COVID-19

Please note that this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be deemed to be or used as legal advice. For guidance specific to your business, talk to a qualified professional.

As COVID-19 guidelines and reopening timelines continue to change, business owners are exploring a mix of strategies to stay open. Retail and service-based businesses in particular are getting creative about following safety precautions while maintaining in-person experiences.

This pandemic has put businesses around the world to the test, and many have responded with never before imagined ways to stay safe and successful during unprecedented times.

One way some businesses have seen success is by moving their operations outdoors. Outdoor shopping and selling comes with unique challenges, from finding enough space to revamping existing areas into usable spots.

When everything shut down

The online store was working. But eventually, online orders levelled off and Bull needed to find another way to drive sales, as customers were becoming more interested in offline shopping experiences.

Moving outside

When taking operations outdoors, many businesses have sectioned off areas of the pavement, a move that adds the challenge of complying with evolving local and state permits and outdoor shopping guidelines.
A simpler approach may be figuring out if there is any existing space you can turn into outdoor shopping or service space. You can also partner with local businesses or outdoor markets to use their space or find one you can use together. During the holidays, outdoor markets that allow shoppers to spread apart could be a useful approach to reach more customers.

Taking to the streets

For sellers that don’t have their own outdoor shopping or service space, moving outdoors creates some new operational hurdles. Selling on the pavement means competing with pedestrian traffic, limited space, and city regulations. Business owners also need to be mindful of leaving enough space for passers-by with disabilities.
It also helps to look at the investment in an outdoor shopping space as a longer-term play while the pandemic continues and the holidays approach.