COVID-19 Retail response Best Practices #2

March 23, 2020

We received feedback that it was helpful to have retail best practices around responding to Coronavirus.  In response, we created more best practices around ensuring that everyone is on the same page (since updates are changing by the minute), employees know where to go to get the information they need, and that stores are focusing on prioritizing customer and employee health while running their business. 

Communicating Coronavirus: Ensure Alignment and Execution


  • Use one source of truth. Instead of sending our multiple emails about Coronavirus that teams have to find and read through, keep all communication, updates, and resources in one centralized, easily accessible place that can be updated on an ongoing basis. That way, store teams will know that they’re always looking at the most up-to-date information, and your team won’t have to field questions from folks who might have missed a memo. (An intranet site is a great tool for this type of communication)

  • Use the Rule of Three. Studies show that most people can only hold three or four ideas in their mind at one time, so make your messaging easy to digest by sticking to just a few big ideas (we like three). A simple starting point for a structure could be: 1. “Here’s what we know,” 2. “Here’s what we don’t know,” and 3. “Here’s what we need from you.” 

  • Start from the top. Use a cascading communications strategy to align your field teams and put employees at ease. Start with a broad message from your President or Head of Stores. Then, require that middle managers – like District Managers – follow up with their teams shortly thereafter to reinforce your key messages and answer questions.

  • Differentiate. Just because there’s an outbreak, we know doesn’t mean all work stops. Your stores are still getting hit with “business as usual” tasks and messages, on top of Coronavirus updates. Help them differentiate important health and safety updates from those day-in, day-out requests by creating clear visual cues. This could be as simple as putting “COVID-19:” at the beginning of the message title, highlighting a message in red, or flagging it as important. Whatever you choose, just make sure you remain consistent in your approach. 

  • Track actions:  If you have a task management solution in place, ensure that the actionable items (e.g. putting out hand sanitizer at the front of the store) are tasks so you can get visibility into what’s happening across your fleet and where people may be struggling to prioritize.  

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, we’re here for you. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this. If you have any best practices you would like to share, learn, or know more about? Let us know.  

Take care of yourself and each other. 💖

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