The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting everything from global stock market vacillations and travel to retail traffic and buying patterns. To help retailers manage, we’ve rounded up some of the best advice we are hearing about the retail customer experience and managing business operations.

Specifically, savvy retailers and brands will:

  • Create a reassuring customer experience, from regularly cleaning stores and offering tissues and hand sanitizer to proactively advising customers that sick employees are staying at home.
  • Cross-train employees for critical tasks in the store, fulfillment center, and customer service.
  • Promote their online buying capabilities — then make sure they show accurate stock levels and can handle demand in their fulfillment center.
  • Resist profiteering activities such as price hikes for in-demand goods. Think “long game” to develop customers’ trust, especially in uncertain times.
  • Protect the business and community at large by limiting product hoarders’ ability to buy big and return their orders. Keep track of who is buying what and enforce a strict return policy.
  • Actively manage supply chain disruptions, from analyzing supply chain bottlenecks and finding alternative sources to contingency planning and close coordination with drop-ship partners.

Our Forrester colleagues have additional advice regarding pandemic planning, how luxury brands are engaging with customers, and more. Plus, please participate in our employee experience (EX) team’s survey.

(This post was written with input from our colleague, George Lawrie.)