After A Blizzard: 9 Tips For How Retailers Can Get Back To Business

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Any time weather affects a retail business, it is hard to deal with, but snow is especially bad.

Deliveries are delayed, employees may have to deal with children needing care, and your utilities may not work reliably.

You need to communicate to everyone; hope for help, but plan to take care of all of it yourself.

Here are 9 tips for retailers affected by a blizzard:

1. Call all employees and confirm they are OK, if they have transportation to and if they can schedule work.

2. Get to your store with a snow shovel and assess any damage. Yes, you might have to shovel your way there from your car.

3. Do whatever is necessary to clean off your awnings, windows, sidewalk, and street in front of your shop. Enlist other shop owners to do the same. You must look open for business.

4. If necessary, hire private services to clear your street, parking lot, and egress and ingress into your shopping area. Better yet, have this arranged in advance.

5. Update all your customers via email blast, Facebook Fan page, Twitter, what your hours will be, and who to call if there is something the customer needs - for example, a dress pickup for an event if you are a woman's apparel store.

6. Consider making a quick YouTube video showing your store, that you are open, how to get in and out, etc. Post that link to your contacts in #5.

7. If you have seasonal items, immediately sell them at a larger discount.

8. Get to the local media and show your area is open; don't assume they'll find you. Also, don't just talk about "how much business we lost."

9. Listen to authorities, of course, but open as soon as possible to return to business. Don't let your store, street, or neighborhood be a victim.

In addition to the nine valuable tips above, retailers should consider leveraging digital tools and e-commerce strategies during and after snow disruptions. This approach can include:

  • Enhancing Online Presence: Use this time to boost your online store's visibility. Update your website with current information, including any changes in operation hours or available services due to the snowstorm.
  • Social Media Engagement: Engage with your customers on all your social media platforms. Share updates and behind-the-scenes content of your snow recovery efforts, and promote online shopping options if your physical store is temporarily inaccessible.
  • Virtual Shopping Experiences: Offer virtual shopping services, such as video calls or personalized online shopping sessions, to cater to customers who cannot visit your store in person.
  • Email Marketing: Send out targeted email campaigns to inform your customers about special post-snowstorm promotions, online exclusives, or updates about store operations.
  • Inventory Management: Use this time to reassess your inventory. Plan for any potential supply chain delays caused by the snowstorm and adjust your inventory accordingly to ensure a smooth transition back to normal operations.

By integrating these digital strategies, retailers can maintain customer engagement and drive sales, even when severe weather conditions impact their physical stores. This approach helps in immediate recovery and strengthens the retailer's resilience against future disruptions.

In Sum

Realize that customers have postponed shopping, not given it up. Don't dwell on the past event but remain focused on those customers who come in and give an exceptional experience.