As retailers are faced with the unprecedented task of having to maintain their business through a global pandemic, the amount of resources available to business owners across the internet can surely be overwhelming. To help alleviate some of the stress in searching for best practices and other resources, the Nationwide Marketing Group team has gathered a collection of documents and resources from some of the leading authorities in the healthcare and retail industries.
Nationwide is also actively working with our vendor partners to gather and share their resources, and get updates that pertain to our members’ stores.
We will regularly update this page as new resources and best practices are shared with us!
In addition, we want to hear from you! While your team at NMG is by no means qualified to answer medically-related queries, we are here to assist you as you operate your business. Do you have a question about the impact of coronavirus on retail and our industry — or, really, any retail-related questions at all? Email them to gro.puorgediwnoitan@ksa. We can’t promise answers to everything, but we’ll tap into every resource to provide answers. Best practices are emerging as we all deal with this pandemic. Have you implemented a best practice you’d like to share with your fellow retailers? Email it to gro.puorgediwnoitan@erahs, and we’ll make sure it’s available to others.
MemberNet COVID-19 Resources (login required)
Coronavirus Action Plan Updated 4/1
Send your questions: gro.puorgediwnoitan@ksa
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COVID-19 Member Survey Results
On March 31st, Nationwide hosted a webinar featuring employment attorneys discussing the impact of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the recently-passed CARES Act. Download the slide deck for this webinar right here.
On March 25th, Nationwide Marketing Group hosted an educational webinar featuring employment attorneys discussing the impact of H.R. 6201 on businesses. Download the full slide deck for this webinar right here.
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[UPDATE 4/2] Sometimes people need to have it spelled out for them, right? In that vein, we’ve made a couple of new COVID-19 retail store signs available for dealers to use and distribute throughout their brick and mortar locations as they see fit. They’re bright, they’re red and they’re plain as day warning signs encouraging your customers — and employees — who don’t feel well to avoid entering your store.
The message is simple: If you feel sick, if you have a fever, if you’re experiencing shortness of breath — simply put, if you don’t feel well — just stay home. The signs also encourage people to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough (on top of staying home) to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The signs come in two sizes (click to download):
We encourage you to use these in your stores and help spread the word on how to slow the spread of this disease and keep your employees and customers healthy.
[UPDATE 4/2] A reminder that the application process for the Paycheck Protection Program officially opens tomorrow (Friday 4/3). All of the tools and documents you need are in the Quick Links section on this page, but to recap: here is the application and here is our overview on the program. Additionally, you can watch the video below for additional information on finding a financial institution to submit your application and more.
It is imperative for small businesses to get their application and supporting documents in order to submit as early as possible. Yes, the small business portion of the CARES Act provides an estimated $350 billion of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, but that figure is expected to be allocated rather quickly.
[UPDATE 4/1] A bit of a lighthearted afternoon update to share, along with the latest #NMGBestPractice. First, over on the NMG Blog, we recently shared a few tips to help business owners and their employees more easily adjust to the work-from-home lifestyle. There are plenty of articles and social media influencers sharing their own tips these days, but our blog post has some ideas that are grounded in collaboration, professional advancement and personal comfort. Read the full blog for more details, but to quickly summarize, here are the four tips we share:
- Utilize an online collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack
- Host “Virtual Happy Hour” events and other icebreaker-like video chats
- Focus on and encourage professional and business development
- Invest in a nice pair of headphones
And then there’s our best practice of the day. This is one that’s been shared with us on a number of occasions. Many members, whose stores remain open as essential businesses, are shifting to an appointment-only business model. This practice helps to keep the business compliant with social distancing recommendations and guidelines.
[UPDATE 4/1] An important financial resources update was posted this morning. The U.S. Department of Treasury recently made available the guidelines and application for the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program. Participating lenders will begin processing applications on Friday, April 3rd, and small business owners are encouraged to get their forms submitted as soon as possible in order to ensure timely processing. Nationwide has aggregated a thorough overview of the program, which you can find here. Also, be sure to download these additional resources:
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released a guide and checklist document for small businesses seeking coronavirus emergency loans, which you can download right here.
[UPDATE 3/31] Our latest webinar is now available for all to view. On Tuesday, March 31st, we hosted a webinar with employment attorneys from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP who walked independent retailers through the recently-passed CARES Act — the $2 trillion relief bill — as well as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. You can view the webinar in full below, and the entire slide deck is available for download right here. Additionally, download the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Employee Rights poster right here.
[UPDATE 3/31] In a relative break from the standard COVID-19 coverage, we came across the following data visualization that shows — in extremely detailed form — just how well (or how poorly) each state and county is doing when it comes to complying with social distancing recommendations. To do this, Unacast, a data mobility firm, used public cellphone data to track the distance individuals’ phones moved throughout the country. After compiling that data, they created a way to “score” states and counties based on average distance traveled and how much it’s reduced over time. Spend some time diving through this trove of info! Be sure to click on a state to drill down to the county level.
[UPDATE 3/30] A number of great resources to call your attention to. First, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship published an excellent six-page document that outlines what small business owners need to know about the recently-passed CARES Act.
On that same topic, the NMG Blog has a new post that dives into the $2 trillion relief package and how that funding will be split up among individuals, businesses and other industry sectors. This chart from NPR offers a great visual breakdown of the bill, but be sure to head over to the blog post to get a better understanding of what this means for small business owners.
Also, don’t forget to register for tomorrow afternoon’s webinar, featuring employment attorneys who will dive into the ins and outs of the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and what they mean for small businesses.
[UPDATE 3/30] A Monday morning slate of updates includes a number of new resources and templates for independent retailers to take advantage of. Nationwide Marketing Group has been knees deep in a number of advocacy initiatives for the independent channel. Among them, letters and packages have been sent to state leaders, the National Governors Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors with information as to why major appliance and furniture and bedding retailers ought to be classified as essential businesses during this time. In addition, Nationwide plans to send another round of letters to lawmakers imploring them to consider executive action to implement a formal commercial rent abatement program for retailers. More information on these advocacy efforts — along with templates and a list of contacts for retailers in each state — is available right here.
We also have a Monday morning update on these and other initiatives underway, delivered by Nationwide’s VP of Member Experience Melissa Stenson. Give that a watch right here:
Keep powering through this time, retailers! We’re here for you and will continue advocating on your behalf and working to provide you all of the resources you need to get through this challenging time. Don’t forget to reach out to us with your questions and stories! We want to hear it all. Reach out to gro.puorgediwnoitan@ksa with questions and gro.puorgediwnoitan@erahs with stories, tips, best practices you’ve been following and more!
[UPDATE 3/27] Two quick updates this morning. First up, we’ve got the latest video message from our executive team. Executive Vice President of Business Services Frank Sandtner shared some information on the latest resources Nationwide has made available — including the latest round of Member survey results and next Tuesday’s webinar. Check that full video out right here:
And then we also have today’s #NMGBestPractice. This one hits on the importance of checking in on your insurance policies. Now would be a great time to examine what insurance policies you have in place to see what coverages might be helpful offsetting any business disruption you may be facing because of the COVID-19 situation. If any apply, file claims quickly to get ahead of any rush your insurer might experience.
[UPDATE 3/26] On Thursday morning, Nationwide published the results of our second Member survey that addresses dealers’ response to the spread of the coronavirus. The full set of results is available in the link above, but here’s a quick look at some of the key findings from this follow-up survey:
- 97% of responding dealers say they have increased cleaning and hygiene efforts in-store as a primary operational modification (up from 95% in the previous survey); 89% have implemented social distancing procedures in their stores
- 42% have reduced store hours, up from 12% in the first survey
- 38% say they have reduced staff size through layoffs, furloughs, or terminations since the outset of the COVID-19 situation; of those who reduced staff size, 74% said they plan to rehire all staff when the outbreak subsides, 62% have assisted impacted team members in the process of filing for unemployment and 49% stay in regular contact with impacted employees to provide updates and possible assistance until they are able to rehire
- 13% report voluntarily closing their stores with no government order in place to do so — up from 5% in the previous survey; another 8% said they plan to do so soon
Our plan is to continue surveying Members on these topics every few days, so be on the lookout for our next set of survey results next week.
[UPDATE 3/26] On Wednesday, Nationwide hosted a webinar with employment attorneys from Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP who took attendees through the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (H.R. 6201). The topics covered included tax credits, sick leave wages and unemployment provisions among many others. The entire webinar is available to be viewed below and on the NMG YouTube channel. During the webinar, viewers were made aware of a Department of Labor poster that highlights Employee Rights made available by H.R. 6201 that should be posted in their place of work. That poster is available for download right here.
[UPDATE 3/25] Another day, another #NMGBestPractice shared by our exceptional members. Today’s tip: consider integrating a video chat strategy into your website or social media platforms.
Also, we’ve got the latest update you on the latest resources and tools available to the independent retail channel, as well as some additional information on the upcoming webinar.
[UPDATE 3/25] Lots to get to this morning. Most pressingly, Nationwide announced a free webinar for this afternoon at 4 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. PDT) featuring prominent employment attorneys Timothy A. Davis and Jill S. Strickland. They will address some of your most pressing concerns and answer your direct questions regarding H.R. 6201, otherwise known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was signed into law last week. Click the link in the box to the left (or above, if you’re viewing this on a mobile device) to get registered — or just click here.
We’ve also updated our video resources to include two new 30-second clips that retailers can use on their social media channels. These assets are aimed at letting customers know they can still support local businesses by shopping safely — online, over the phone, by purchasing gift cards and more.
And lastly this morning, we’ve added a brand new Coronavirus Action Plan document to our resources catalog. That PDF can be viewed and downloaded right here. The document features a flow chart with steps on how to address and respond to a state-mandated closure of your business, advice for marketing to consumers the importance of shopping local at this time, logistical and operational best practices and more.
[UPDATE 3/24] A couple of afternoon updates to provide. As we’re sure you’re aware, the number of states issuing stay-in-place style orders is quickly on the rise. Those orders also require that any businesses classified as non-essential or non-life sustaining close their doors. To keep track of those orders issued by state (and in some cases, just local municipalities) check out this great resource provided by The New York Times. It is free to use, but does require a login to access it. And, with that in mind, if you don’t already have a NYT login, we’re providing community access to this resource via Netflix-style login-sharing. Use our NYT login to access this tool:
- Username/email: gro.puorgediwnoitan@rp
- Password: ShareNYT
Along with the growing number of these orders, there’s plenty of confusion around what exactly an “essential business” is, and what businesses are allowed to remain open. While it varies from state to state, nearly all states have a process that allows businesses that are found to be non-essential to apply for a waiver if they believe they were misclassified. To assist members seeking to submit a waiver, Nationwide has created a template waiver submission letter that our appliance dealers can use and customize to their store and state. Download that form right here.
In separate but related news, this COVID-19 situation provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to review their crisis communication policies and procedures. We recently shared some tips for what should be included in a crisis comms plan with CE Pro.
And lastly, we recently shared an update from our Financial Services team with information related to all of the financial and business services updates, resources, and more that have been shared since the outset of this COVID-19 situation. Here’s a recap of that information, provided by Nationwide VP of Member and Financial Services Chris Kirk:
[UPDATE 3/24] Kicking the day off with the latest best practice shared by a Nationwide Marketing Group member.
It’s in yours and your customers’ best interest to call the customer ahead of any in-home delivery or service trip to get a good sense of the health and wellness of those in the home. Some good questions to consider asking ahead of the call: Has anyone traveled to an impacted location recently? Is everyone healthy in the home? Has anyone potentially been exposed to COVID-19? If the answer to any of those questions would put your employee at risk of contracting COVID-19, consider offering alternatives to serve the customer’s needs that don’t involve in-home service.
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Today's #NMGBestPractice: Consider calling all customers scheduled for delivery or service visits, and ask a few questions: Has anyone traveled to an impacted location recently? Is everyone healthy in the home? Has anyone potentially been exposed to COVID-19? If the answers to these questions put your team at risk, consider offering other alternatives to serve the customer’s needs that don’t involve in-home service.
[UPDATE 3/23] Over the past ten days, we’ve had the privilege of answering a lot of questions from Members across the country. While most of these questions have been about the business implications of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve also had some about an even more important topic: family.
If, like many of us, you have young children, talking to them about coronavirus can be daunting. It’s hard to explain, hard to understand, and there’s little we can reference from their lifetime (and even ours) that relates to this situation. In that light, we hope you’ll find the resources below helpful.
- Talking with children about coronavirus – CDC
- How to talk to your kids about coronavirus – PBS Kids
- What kids want to know about coronavirus – A COVID-19 comic for kids from NPR
[UPDATE 3/23] Late last week and over the weekend, a number of states issues stay-at-home orders and new calls for non-essential businesses to close their doors. As these updates continue to come in, Nationwide Marketing Group will update our new State and Local Restrictions page. As the situation, we recommend checking your state government’s own resource pages, but we will try our best to keep this as up to date as possible!
In addition, the National Governors Association has created a resource page that provides additional information on actions that each state has taken in response to the spread of the coronavirus. We recommend you check their website for more information.
Over the weekend, our Chief Member Advocate Tom Hickman posted a message to members. You can view that right here:
And lastly, on the Nationwide Marketing Group social media channels, we’ve begun a new series of posts with the hashtag #NMGBestPractices. During these trying times, we’ve been completely overwhelmed with the number of tips, best practices, and strategies that our members have shared with us. OF course, we believe the independent retail channel would benefit from these tips, so our plan is to share one tip per day! And we encourage all members of the independent retail channel to participate and share their own tips and strategies, and tagging the #NMGBestPractices hashtag so we can all benefit from our collective insights! Here’s a look at today’s best practice from a member:
[UPDATE 3/20] On Thursday evening, Nationwide Marketing Group conducted a quick-turn survey of its membership to try to get a better understanding of how the independent retail channel is responding to and operating through the fast-evolving COVID-19 outbreak. More than 460 members responded to the survey in a 24-hour period, providing the industry’s first glimpse into the independent retail landscape.
[UPDATE 3/20] Nationwide PrimeMedia has introduced a new Member-exclusive advertising campaign called “Socially Distant, Locally Owned” designed to let shoppers know that Members’ stores are open to serve the community and also adhering to social distancing practices. This video package includes a 6-second, 15-second and 30-second commercial for any product category or combination of categories with custom announcer and logo personalization for a modest post-production fee. Visit the PrimeMedia website to learn more.
[UPDATE 3/20] More resources have been made available this afternoon, including:
- A COVID-19 response template message (Word document) that retailers can customize and distribute to their existing customers and local community
- Best practices and advice for integrating a chat system into your retail website from the Nationwide Digital Team
- A checklist of best practices for maintaining operations throughout this coronavirus crisis
[UPDATE 3/20] Lot’s of new resources to share with the independent retail channel this morning.
On Wednesday evening, President Trump signed into law H.R.6201 – Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A key component of the bill is the requirement for employers to provide their workers with paid emergency leave. In a recently published blog post, we highlight how this is likely to impact the independent retail channel, and what businesses can do to seek financial relief from the federal government to help offset the costs associated with the legislation.
Related to H.R. 6201, the Nationwide Marketing Group Financial Services team shared a great resource [PDF] from the Plexus insurance brokerage firm that dives deep into the many aspects of the bill.
We also have a brief video update that rounds up some of the other resources that have been developed and released over the past 72 hours for the independent retail channel. Give that a watch below.
[UPDATE 3/18] Multifunding, a business loan advisory firm, has launched a free webinar series focused on coronavirus emergency funding. The webinars go off every day at noon from (yesterday) 3/17 through 3/20 and will be hosted by Multifunding’s CEO Ami Kassar. Registration is free, and you can sign up right here.
[UPDATE 3/18] Independent We Stand has always been a tremendous resource for the independent retail channel. The group just shared four resources for small businesses coping with the coronavirus outbreak, which include expert guidance, information on federal disaster loans, tips for leaning into the small business community, and ways to leverage Independent We Stand in your response efforts.
[UPDATE 3/18] The Nationwide PrimeMedia team developed a number of video and signage assets for retailers to download — for free — and use in their stores and on their websites. The entire collection is available on the PrimeMedia website, and the links below will take you to each asset where you can download it directly!
- 5 Steps for washing hands (Video)
- Have supplies on hand (Video)
- No Handshake Zone Sign 1 (PDF)
- No Handshake Zone Sign 2 (PDF)
- No Handshake Zone Sign 3 (PDF)
- No Handshake Zone Sign 4 (PDF)
- Take Action to Reduce Chances of Getting Sick (Video)
- Use Hand Sanitizer When Soap Isn’t Available (Video)
- Wash Your Hands Often (Video)
- We Are Open: Delivery Team Ready (Video)
- We Are Open: Free Delivery Offer (Video)
- We Are Open: Multi-store Operation (Video)
- We Are Open: Single-store Operation (Video)
- We Are Open: Safe Delivery Precautions (Video)
[UPDATE 3/18] If you need a cliff notes version of what you as a business owner should be doing right now, how you should plan for the spread of COVID-19 in your area, and what your response plan should look like, check out our blog on just that right here.
Also, according to Furniture Today, it looks like the High Point Market Authority has a new target date for its spring market.
Rob is the corporate communications manager for Nationwide Marketing Group.