All search is local. In both the real and online world, consumers visit the central places that provide goods and services that they need and they make these decisions to minimize travel distance and that includes selecting a showroom to design and install their new kitchens and baths.
Whatever your situation might be, it’s not what you would have expected at the start of 2020. Covid-19, stay-at-home orders, shuttering and reopening your showroom and making tough decisions for your business have all been part of the new normal. Having to worry about family, whether or not schools will open in the fall, the threat of contracting COVID-19, the prospects of a long recovery from the recession and isolation from friends, family and regular routines can be stressful.
The jury remains out if team members are more productive working from home. We have learned during the pandemic that working from home creates new challenges that can significantly inhibit productivity. Staying at home with limited access to entertainment, dining and other venues that provide variety is exhausting. Recognize that your fellow team members may be experiencing significantly more emotional and cognitive fatigue than normal, write Rebecca Zucker in a recent HBR blog.
The picture is not pretty. Coresight Research expects 20,000 to 25,000 brick and mortar retailers to shutter in 2020, increasing more than 100% from 2019. The company also expects 55 to 60% of mall-based stores to close their doors. That estimate is in line with a Green Street Advisors prediction as well.
Recently the Small Business Administration issued new rules and procedures to have Paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven. Key changes are as follows:
Consumers have been forced to shop online during stay-at-home mandates, even if they had not previously been much of an online shopper. Derek Thompson recently pointed out in The Atlantic, "Online shopping has gone from a regular habit for a minority of consumers to a crucial part of America's recreational infrastructure.
Health and well-being are top of mind for most of your potential clients and provide a marketing opportunity for designers and showrooms who can demonstrate how their designs and knowledge can contribute to their clients' health and well-being.
Even though most every BKBG showroom has opened to the public, many have team members working remotely at least some of the time. The keys to keeping those who are working from home engaged and productive are as follows:
Many BKBG Shareholders have reopened their showrooms and are following federal, state and local health agency guidelines to protect their teams and clients. Keeping everyone safe and healthy may involve wearing masks, washing hands, checking temperatures and social distancing for the immediate future and most likely beyond. The challenge for most showrooms is to ensure that guidelines in place are consistently followed. And to be successful, you and your team will need to change your behavior.
There's no guide, standard operating procedures or even experiences that showroom owners can turn to for direction. We know of some owners that have had to take a pay cut, furlough great team members and be the bearer of bad news. Plus, working from home is not easy, especially if your role also includes homeschooling and keeping your kids from bouncing off the walls.