Furniture retail sales have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Sales projections for the FY 2020-21 are being re-evaluated and readjusted to a new record minimum.
The crisis that now looms large over the global economy necessitates critical changes in business practices and policies. In particular, the big-box stores with complex supply chains, a willingness to change will make the road to recovery short and risk-free.
But is there a blueprint for recovery? Are there any footprints to follow? And what’s the best plan of action to manage loss and encourage consistent growth? Keep reading to find answers to all these and more.
1. Prepare For Post-COVID-19 Reopening
Furniture retailers are experiencing different sets of challenges depending on the severity of COVID-19 infection in their particular locations; nevertheless, the importance of preparation for reopening post-COVID-19 cannot be ignored.
Here’s a checklist to help you with the actions you must take to manage your business efficiently and safely.
- Educate Your Employees
First and foremost, get in touch with your employees and schedule an online meeting with your employees. Check on their health status and inform them of the necessary changes that would be implemented post-re-opening. Also, share with them a list of health and safety measures that must be practiced at the workplace.
- Get Inventory Updated
Considering the indefinite closing of furniture retail stores, it’s important to get a handle of the current inventory count.
Once you are ready with the inventory update, run a product performance audit to identify the products that sell easily as well as the products that were particularly popular during pre-lockdown.
- Consider Online Search Trends Too
The Internet will be at the heart of the customer buying experience post-COVID-19. Most of the buyers will search for products online, contact retailers online, inquire further for products, and visit the store only if they are sure that they like what they see and hear.
Considering this, it would be wise to have a strategy for local SEO such as GMB listings, making most of the online search trends, etc
2. Implement Stringent Safety Measures
It is important to take strong steps forward to ensure the safety of the staff and store visitors.
- Place in-store signage reminding everybody about social distancing
- Make it compulsory for staff to wear a mask and gloves.
- Provide store visitors with hand sanitizers and wipes
- Dedicate an employee for sanitizing the showcased furniture and high-touch areas frequently.
In addition to the above, spare some time to upgrade furniture return and exchange policies and practices. Even if safety means extended time for returns and exchange, make sure you explain the reasons to the customer and follow all measures strictly.
3. Source From Certified and Trusted Manufacturers
Furniture retailers buy and export products from multiple sources. The supply chain is very complex and makes it difficult to ensure safety at all touchpoints. The best way to ensure safety is by sourcing products only from those manufacturers and exporters who have incorporated strict COVID-19 safety measures in their production and logistic facilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has invited challenges unseen and unheard before. At Shambhav Art & Exports, we realize transformation is the only way forward. As India’s top furniture manufacturer and exporter in several parts of the world, our focus has been on reinventing every aspect of our Standard Operating Procedures for ensuring the safety of our staff, customers, and product users.