Steps to Transition to Retail-To-Go

Thursday, April 23, 2020

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Starting tomorrow, April 24, retail stores in Texas will be allowed to reopen using a “Retail-To-Go” business model outlined by Governor Abbott.

Under this business model, reopened retail establishments are required to maintain social distancing measures by delivering items to customer’s cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact. This business model will allow small businesses to reach customers while mitigating the spread of Covid-19.

The guidelines for the “Retail to-go” business model are outlined below.

  • Retail to-go:
    • All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
    • Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.
    • Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.
  • Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep:
    • All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
    • Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third-party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business.
  • Retail delivery by mail:
    • All payments must be done over the phone or internet.
    • Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.

Best Practices for Local Delivery and Curbside Practices

Transitioning a traditional retail business for curbside or delivery isn’t a one-step process, so we’ve put together a list of recommended steps to help your business navigate this “Retail-To-Go” business model.

Here are a few steps to help:

  1. Schedule and organize employees. Determine the process that orders will be received, gathered, packaged and picked up by the customer. Determine which employees will be responsible for each task.
  2. Set minimums and limits. Minimum order amounts, distance limits and any delivery fees should be set to ensure that deliveries are profitable. Curbside can be more lenient in these limits, but you may consider setting certain times for pickup orders to occur. Promotions can be created from the limits that you set in place. For example, you might wave the delivery fee, for orders over $50.
  3. Communicate delivery and curbside instructions to customers. Communication with customers is key. Utilize social media, email newsletters and your website to let customers know the process and requirements for purchasing your items. Ensure that the curbside area is clearly marked for customers picking up their orders and have a system in place that customers can use to notify you of their arrival. For example, allow customers to send a text or call with their order number when they arrive.  Let customers know that the "Retail-To-Go" guidelines specify that products will need to be placed in the trunk or backseat when picking up curbside or at their doorstep when products are delivered, so they are prepared when receiving their order.
  4. Consider setting up online ordering. Setting up online ordering on your website can streamline the ordering process for your customers and your business. Including photos and descriptions of your products can build customer confidence in your products and increase sales. 
  5. Share how you are keeping customers and employees safe. Transparency during the pandemic can help your customers feel secure when ordering from you. Describe your sanitation measures and preventive steps and share how you are keeping your employees safe inside of your business.
  6. Compensate your delivery employees. If your employees are using their personal vehicles for delivery, take into account wear and tear and insurance when compensating them for their mileage. While you don’t have to cover the full amount of these expenses, a small stipend can go a long way toward showing them your appreciation.
  7. Promote your delivery and curbside service. Market your curbside and delivery services through social media posts, email newsletters and on your website, so potential customers know you are open and ready to serve them.

Category: Covid19, Small Business Development

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