The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) hosted a virtual town hall April 22 for independent home improvement retailers to discuss strategies for managing their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Retailers from throughout the U.S. and Canada joined the town hall via Zoom video. During the online meeting, dozens of business owners shared insight into how they are adapting to provide more deliveries and curbside pickup options for customers.
They discussed challenges of operating during the pandemic, such as staffing the stores, setting up new cleaning and social distancing protocols, and communicating new requirements to employees and staff.
Retailers talked about their experiences with working to protect their customers and staff against illness, while following local regulations and continuing to provide high-demand products and services.
For example, retailers from some parts of the U.S. are required to have all employees and customers wear protective face masks in stores, and not all staff or shoppers have responded well to the change.
Some business owners have closed their stores to the public and are only offering curbside pickup, and their teams are adjusting to taking a high volume of phone orders and payments.
Others have placed employees at the front doors to limit the number of customers coming into the store, following the lead of other businesses in their areas when determining the number of people allowed in at a time.
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