Changes to retail operations are anticipated amid COVID-19
- During the COVID-19 temporary closures, many retailers used the time for deep cleaning and revamping business structures.
- The onset of the Coronavirus will have immediate short term and long term impact affecting both the U.S. and Columbia retail markets.
Retailers will operate under a “new normal” due to COVID-19
At the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic forced retailers to change the way they conduct business. Retail businesses were ordered to close their doors to onsite customers only allowing for carry-out or curbside service, unless deemed essential. While some retailers have asked for rent restructuring and governmental funding to offer monetary relief, others have used the temporary closings as a time for deep cleaning and revamping business structures. Retailers have: altered spacing between dining tables so they are further apart from each other upon reopening; added areas for inside pick-up kiosks affording less one-on-one interaction with employees and other customers; constructed partitions between employees and patrons to limit the spread of germs; installed no-touch automatic entry systems and added delivery services and/or drive-thrus to their shops. Other retailers have increased their online presence making it possible for customers to order and receive curbside delivery to their vehicles. All of these new structures are done with the hope that customers will feel comfortable returning to their shops and restaurants when the quarantine is lifted. Retailers will operate under a “new normal” upon reopening. Consumer attitudes during the lock-down have gravitated toward supporting local business owners within their community. Hopes are high that retailers will reopen to increased business thanks to anxious consumers ready to support them.
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