Monday, September 9, 2013

Think Through Disaster Preparation Psychology

According to a U.S. Small Business Administration estimate, 90% of small to midsize retailers will end up closing their doors within one year after a major disaster unless they resume sales within five days.
     The SBA provides specific recommendations about preparing your store operations for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires. Each of the lists addresses the distinctive logistics for different types of disasters.
     There’s also a psychology in the preparation:
  • Don’t fall prey to labeling a near miss as a clear win. A Bloomberg Businessweek posting warned of the danger in putting so much energy into successfully surviving the last catastrophe that the retailer forgets to prepare better for the next one. 
  • Rehearse your store’s crisis management program. Recognize that consumers whose homes are destroyed or family members injured can suffer grief which leads to desperate actions. Along with gearing up to sell to your community members as much of what they desire with as few restrictions as possible, protect against hoarding and looting. 
  • Also recognize the psychological effects on your employees and yourself. Throughout the life of your business, cultivate and carefully maintain a spirit of teamwork you can call on after disaster strikes. For the interval your store or office is closed down, take time to see staff members face-to-face. Encourage use of professional counseling as needed to persevere through the trauma.
  • Know in advance what shoppers will want during and just after a natural disaster, and then be ready to put it front and center. There might be surprises. Walmart reports that in anticipation of violent weather, sales of Strawberry Pop-Tarts grow more than do sales of batteries, and the best-selling product of all is beer. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania found that the anxiety accompanying disasters leads consumers to prefer postcards with thick borders around the edges to similar postcards without a thick border. They also preferred orderly shelves, uncluttered aisles, and unambiguous instructions. 
  • Develop good working relationships with the people you’ll depend on for information during a disaster. Prepare for how that information will flow both ways. During hurricanes, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses what they call a “Waffle House Index” to judge the progress of recovery. The WHI measures whether the restaurant in the area was open and, if open, whether a partial or full menu was being served. Waffle House restaurants planned the limited menus in advance and set rounded prices to include tax so that change for cash purchases could be made more easily. 
     Talking about the 2011 tornado which significantly damaged most retail business in Joplin, Missouri, Lori Rivera, FEMA Senior Outreach Manager, reminded us “Without retail, there was going to be no recovery.”

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Prepare for Natural Disasters 
Curb Hoarding 
Sell Self-Esteem After Times of Fear

No comments:

Post a Comment