Resources that provide support for retail business owners

Information specific to small business owners in retail

Nonprofit Resources

NRF Coronavirus Resources for Retailers

Click here for information regarding loans and relief efforts for retailers.

NRF State Resources

Click here for coronavirus resource information for retailers, akin to the other NRF resource page but consolidated on a state-specific basis.

Federal Resources

City of Fitchburg Emergency Small Business Grant Program

Click here for information on how Fitchburg city businesses can receive grants. Must be  able to demonstrate documented financial loss as a direct result of the pandemic. Other businesses besides retail may also qualify for a grant. 

Corporate Resources

FedEx Small Business Resources and Support

These resources, while specific to small businesses, are not specific to retail businesses. Resources include shipping discounts, printing discounts, and grant initiatives. 

Business Process Adaptations to Consider

Supply Chain Protection Areas:

Mitigate risk and collaborate with suppliers
  • Contact and review status of suppliers to ensure steady delivery of goods (minimize single points/sources of dependence) and minimize risk of supply disruptions
  • Modify delivery schedules to increase merchandise/resource flexibility; relax on-time and in-full order requirements
  • Request revision of payment timelines and terms for flexible alternatives
  • Validate food supplier safety standards
Reallocation of inventory to preserve cash
  • Identify liquidable inventory and non-essential assets to maximize cash on hand
  • Discount underperforming stock and merchandise
  • Review inventory costs of current goods and merchandise
  • Evaluate regular high volume orders to minimize "time on shelf" or potential inventory storage waste
  • Work with distribution partners to sell off excess inventory
Revise purchasing plans for merchandise in high demand
  • Prioritize high demand merchandise for purchase and availability to maintain steady cash flows
  • Transition to goods that require minimal customer discovery in purchasing process (i.e.; goods that customers typically don't have to test out or "try on" before purchasing)

Operations Protection Areas:

Cross train personnel to assist with e-commerce and delivery
  • Train back-office and front-office personnel to handle shift to e-commerce orders and digital payment processing
  • Allocate personnel for home delivery duties as operations pivot from in-store purchases
  • Dedicate staff to packaging and over-the-phone customer service
Adjust staffing levels
  • Modify staffing schedules to reflect new working hours; where possible, transition certain brick and mortar locations to "dark stores" to handle digital purchases, packaging, and deliveries
  • Rotate personnel to sanitation/social distancing duties inside stores and outside as customers queue to enter
  • Create transparency and flexibility around available job shifts
  • Establish contingency staffing measures in case of unexpected issues (child care, transportation, etc.)
  • Review role responsibilities to minimize employee contact and cross-pollinating activities
Streamline processes
  • Clear signage and mapping of merchandise to expedite customer visits
  • Modify packaging of goods to allow expedited selection and carry out for customers
  • Change the way fast moving products are merchandised; moving in-demand items to front of store or onto homepage banner

Service Delivery Protection Areas:

Accommodate e-commerce (in-store pickup/local delivery)
  • Promote e-commerce channels and digital payment options to minimize physical payment contact
  • Establish independent merchandise pickup windows for drive-in/in-store pickup, to distribute customer/employee density throughout the business day
  • Provide at-home delivery options for local customers
  • For extended contact services (where permitted), establish digital scheduling platforms for customers
Pop-up locations and regular scheduled delivery option
  • Curbside pop-up in well known/conveniently located spaces for drive-by customer pickup
  • Bundled popular/high-demand goods for weekly delivery
Partnership with local logistics services
  • Partner with local logistics services for marketing and product delivery
  • Utilize partner platforms to expand geographical delivery of goods and services outside of in-house delivery reach

Marketing & Sales Protection Areas:

Community outreach and advertising
  • Use of social media or physical signage to promote availability and purchasing options for local customers
  • Promotion of how businesses are implementing safe shopping spaces and pick-up windows
  • Develop new referral programs for existing customers to expand the business network
  • Promote gift card and pre-order options as a means of supporting local business
Digital retail experience and interactive commerce
  • Virtual walk-in/tour of retail space in place of in-store exploration (VR, 360 degree video, or comprehensive photographic demonstration)
  • 3D imaging or photography of new products and goods to allow customer product exploration
  • Email and mobile notifications when high demand items are back in stock
  • Digital presentation of goods or skills associated with individual businesses (e.g.; makeup tutorials, professional product photography)
  • Unveiling of new products and merchandise with customers via video platforms (e.g.; social media "drops", video livestreams for customer engagement)
Local partnerships and events
  • Partner with local businesses for targeted "digital sidewalk sale"; specific date of single day sales offerings for multiple businesses promoted by local municipality