The key to preparing your retail business for the holidays is to start doing so right after the holidays end. Well, it’s likely that you did that—but plans change when a global pandemic hits. Supply chains changed. Your business probably had to shut down for at least a month. And now that you’re ramping back up, you’re doing so with fewer customers allowed in your business.
While this is fine today and will be fine as we move into September and October—people will tolerate standing outside waiting to enter your business when it’s somewhere between 50 and 80—what happens as you approach the busiest season of the year?
The holidays are rapidly approaching. With the holiday season comes more customers—and colder weather. Pair this with the likelihood that states may still be preventing you from operating at full capacity, and you could be leaving your customers out in the cold—literally.
The Last Chance to Make Up for Lost Business
In a normal environment, the holidays are time for retailers to get excited. A good holiday season can make up for a mediocre year or make a good year even better. But in 2020, everything is different. It’s likely that some businesses are relying on the holidays to keep the lights on in January.
But it’s not doom and gloom—many customers want to shop at local businesses. But they also want to do so safely. The likely scenario is that states will continue placing restrictions on your operations through at least the end of the year.
What does this mean? Masks, plexiglass, and a limited number of customers allowed into your store. The first two are easy—you’ve probably already embraced this.
However, the third one poses a challenge, because the following three statements will be true:
- The holiday season means you will have more foot traffic.
- The state limits the amount of people allowed in your store.
- New England has terrible winters.
Though customers are very excited to shop at small businesses, they’re not going to risk frostbite to do so. Therefore, it’s on you to cater to their needs.
Why a Curbside Pickup Initiative is Perfect for the Holidays
One of the biggest changes brought about by the COVID-19 outbreaks has been the move towards curbside pickup. Shopping used to consist of walking around, looking at items, feeling them, and making a decision. Throughout the pandemic, this disappeared. Many shifted from a leisurely stroll through the supermarket to a get-in-and-get-out mentality. That is, if they even went in at all.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the time to ask whether or not customers are going to return to their Black Friday mentality in the wake of the pandemic, if they are going to focus exclusively on Cyber Monday, or if they will embrace the curbside experience if you offer it.
The clock is ticking for retailers to solidify their holiday 2020 plans, and if you’re looking to deliver convenience, safety, and reliability to customers, you’re running out of time to make the change. Without integration and intelligence however, the decision to embrace a curbside pickup initiative could do more harm than good. Luckily, Acumatica makes curbside pickup easy. Delivering the flexibility, real-time information, and automation you need, Acumatica can facilitate the processing between an ecommerce website and your store.
Cloud 9 ERP Solutions and Acumatica: Helping You Deliver on Customer Expectations
It’s hard to run a retail business, and even harder if you’re lagging behind the competition. The holidays are rapidly approaching, and from the looks of it, lockdowns still won’t be fully lifted by the time holiday shopping starts up. Customers will not put up with spending hours in the cold just waiting to get into your store.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to take your business further with automated, integrated, and configured-for-you ERP software, look no further than Cloud 9 ERP Solutions and Acumatica. We recently introduced a video of how you can connect your processes to deliver curbside pickup for your customers with Acumatica, satisfying their needs and providing products in the safest and most customer-friendly way available.
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