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‘We also need to sanitize merchandise at regular intervals’

Vipul Mathur, Business Head, Udaan.com
Vipul Mathur Udaan“Can you move a part of your store online. Can you get to the same degree of sales without getting as many customers as you used to in stores. Is that possible? Can you do home delivery for people to feel safer. If you are an apparel retailer you might have to go places, can you avoid going there and use alternative sourcing methods. If you do all these then three things will happen: you will remain safe, employees will remain safe, customers will remain safe. Their being safe over time they can buy goods without any mishap. Practiced over time this will see business grow.”

“Our sanitization and cleanliness drives should be targeted towards saving our customers, who if infected, are likely to infect everyone else in the market. This might not only refrain our potential buyers but also stop future business from coming in,” said Vipul Mathur, Business Head, Udaan.com at #2 webinar organized by DFU Publications-DFU LIVE in association with TRRAIN on the subject ‘Getting the new transformed Store ready for Safety, Hygiene & Technology’ under the webinar theme: ‘Consumer Bulao, Retailer Jitao’ (Spiking Consumption, Winning the Customer Back). “We also need to save our employees who come to work at the risks of their lives,” he added. Mathur advised both employees and customers to have faith in the safety of their place of work and if in case, the virus is present, they can bring it under control.

“A detailed note on how we can implement this has been published by the Retailers Association of India,” noted Mathur. As per this note, retailers can either use a temperature scanner at their store entrances or put up a board requesting customers not to enter their stores if they have a fever. “This will create a certain degree of confidence in customers’ mind that the store owner is conscious about preventing and spreading corona,” he explained.

Encourage serious shoppers, avoid garment alterations

Mathur also advised retailers to encourage only serious shoppers to touch their merchandise. “We also need to sanitize merchandise at regular intervals so that it can be sold for up to 25 hours. This can be done by ironing the garments at regular intervals,” he said.

Retailers should also avoid garment alterations as of now. “This will not only prevent the virus from entering stores but also eliminate the fear of the virus from the minds of customers and employees,” opined Mathur.

Mathur believes, store employees should also be thoroughly scanned for their own safety. “Their body temperatures should be regularly scanned and if found not well they should be advised to stay at home. Half the staff should be called for working in shifts and all guidelines issued by the government and RAI should be adhered to,” he added.

The RAI has issued a lot of guidelines on housekeeping like what percentage of chlorine should be used for cleaning, different methods of cleaning and mechanisms for safe disposal of gloves. “You will have to direct your employees not to share their lunch as no one knows who is a carrier,” he added.

Boost online shopping

Mathur also advised retailers to encourage more online shopping. “Udaan as a B2B portal is doing a fantastic job regarding this. Retailers can also use WhatsApp and Facebook to sell their goods online,” he said.

However, online selling raises several questions for retailers like can they move a part of the same merchandise online. “Can they achieve the same degree of sales without getting as many customers as they used to in stores? Can they deliver their products to make their customers feel safer? Can a retailer use alternate sourcing methods? If a retailer is able to achieve all of these objectives, he will be able to ensure the safety of both employees and customers. In the long run, this will help his business to grow.”

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