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How can retailers begin to recover from COVID-19?


While plans to reopen businesses and lift government lockdowns are gradually taking shape, retailers face a number of challenges as they look to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public health requirements for reopening—not to mention the fears of anxious consumers—will almost certainly affect the way many in the retail industry operate. Cost control will also be top of mind, as retailers look for ways to offset the financial impact of temporary closures and restricted operations.

To help retailers overcome these challenges, this infographic outlines five key recovery strategies.

5 strategies to help retailers recover from COVID-19

When it comes to store operations and consumer expectations, the retail industry will need to adjust to a new shopping reality in order to recover from COVID-19. These five steps can help retailers throughout the process.

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1. Access government support

  • Government relief programs can help sustain   the business and support recovery. 
  • Leverage as many of these programs as possible (depending on eligibility) to help with wages, rent costs, loans, financing, and more.

2. Reduce spending

  • Cash preservation is more vital than ever and can help buy much-needed recovery time. 
  • Work with your bank, landlord, and other relevant stakeholders to reduce or defer as many expenses as possible.
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3. Expand revenue-generating activities

  • Until physical stores fully reopen and customers are comfortable with in-person shopping, the need for e-commerce anddigital capabilities is here to stay.
  • Provide customers with alternate ways to shop, such as enhanced e-commerce offerings, buy online pick up in-store (BOPUS), curbside delivery, etc. 
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4. Change the customer experience

  • Consumers will have new needs and expectations, driven by the physical and psychological effects of COVID-19. 
  • Consider a socially distanced store layout, personal protective equipment (PPE) for shoppers, and a product mix that reflects the financial impact of the crisis. 

5. Focus on employee retention

  • Investing in staff retention now can build a stronger team—one that can see the business through COVID-19 recovery, as well as support future growth. 
  • Provide employees with more choice on shifts, effective PPE, and more flexible absence/leave policies. 

How BDO can help

Our team of advisors can help you build and implement a strategy for your retail business to recover from COVID-19. We can assist with financial recovery and business reorganization, HR/people advisory and return-to-work plans, and adapting store operations to align with the new normal.

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