NEW, NOW & NEXT | 5 Post-Pandemic Showroom Reopening Strategies
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
I hosted a showroom gathering at the Design Hardware and Flooring showroom on 3rd Street in Los Angeles on March 12th, the day before the world changed as we know it. We are a consumer society that does not take kindly to anything that limits our ability to buy what we want when we want it. COVID-19 did just that.
So, here we are on the precipice of reopening our showrooms to a desperate design community and there are still some questions about what this actually looks like. Because nobody has the answers. In the absence of qualified information, it seems to follow tried and true best-practices. Regardless of state regulations or that seemingly endless lists of things that could, should and should not be done, here are 5 things to consider when reopening to the public:
ONE. Don't Deviate From "Phase" Restrictions. If Phase 1 for your showroom means appointment-only, don't swing the doors open to all. Someone will have a problem with it and, at the very least, you will have a social media issue to deal with. Use the prescribed restrictions to look for opportunities to "stage" guests in an entertaining and socially-distanced, responsible way outside the store.
TWO. Manage Traffic Flow Like Ikea. Anyone who has ever been to Ikea knows that the traffic patterns were devised to bring customers in to view all merchandise and exit at the point-of-purchase. This is purely retail-focused. This is designed to boost spending by exposing customers to significantly more opportunities to be inspired. With a little thought, you can reorganize your store traffic in a similar manner maximize exposure, and practice social-distancing at the same time.
THREE. Curbside Service for Order Pick-up. This concept seems foreign to design showrooms but this strategy is gaining momentum nationally and once a new consumer behavior is adopted, you will be at a disadvantage if you don't. This is designed to boost spending by exposing customers to significantly more opportunities to be inspired.
FOUR. Remove 25% of the Least Profitable Merchandise From the Floor and Create Digital Content to Offer it Online.
FIVE. Make Your Customers Comfortable. This is not easy, nor is it simple but there are some well-established protocols in place that include taking temperatures at the door, sticky mats on the floor, hand-sanitizer stations throughout the showroom, easy check-out and others upu can find by clicking on the link.