As customers have changed how they shop because of the COVID-19 pandemic, stores have evolved, too.
Blake Garfield, whose family owns Seattle’s Bedrooms & More furniture store, is like many retailers who may make some of their safety-related changes permanent. Studies show customers are more safety conscious and they expect retailers to operate with safety foremost in mind.
Garfield had to close his store for several weeks after Governor Inslee issued the Stay Home Stay Healthy order late in March. He’s now operating under Phase 2 safety guidelines of the Governor’s reopening plan.
Garfield listed the changes he’s made that are likely to become permanent:
- The few employees who can work remotely will continue to do so.
- The delivery team will continue to wear masks and gloves. Garfield figures it might help to reduce sick days.
- The sneeze guards at the checkout stations are likely to remain, as will touch-free checkout and a full-time cleaner.
- The store switched to direct deposit for paychecks.
- Garfield also turned to temporarily paying the sales staff using the shared work program on an hourly basis instead of on commission. As business slowed down, this allowed Garfield to retain a majority of his employees and reduce impacts on their personal finances.