As companies begin to reopen, customers want to know what measures your business is taking for health and safety. Having the standards they expect--and communicating them effectively--could be the deciding factor in whether people come and spend.

Here's a list of measures that San Francisco-based Yelp is now displaying for businesses on its app:

  • Social distancing enforcement
  • Sanitizing between customers
  • Staff wearing masks and/or gloves
  • Hand sanitizer availability
  • Limited capacity
  • Contactless payment availability
  • Temperature checks enforced
  • Masks required for customers

The crowd-sourced review app is rolling out new features that help businesses tell customers what to expect at their locations, based on third-party research and research conducted by the company on factors that are most important to users.

Language matters in sharing information, says Yelp's Akhil Ramesh, the company's head of consumer product. For example, he says, saying that you're sanitizing between each customer visit, rather than just saying you're sanitizing, is important. 

"It's a matter of what makes consumers nervous, and what puts them at ease," he told Inc.

Businesses can log into Yelp and update their procedures, as well as create a banner that displays a custom message to users. Business listings will also now include a timestamp for when the information was updated, so users know if they can trust the page to be up-to-date.

 inline image

The new website ShopSafely also has a handy list of standards, compiled by tracking the efforts made by the top retailers in the U.S.

The ShopSafely database is from San Francisco-based retailer b8ta, which sells internet-of-things products. The website grew out of b8ta's internal efforts in March to collect information to figure out the best practices for its 22 stores around the world, says CEO Vibhu Norby. Seeing how useful it would be to the public, the company put it out on a website. ShopSafely lists 14 possible factors--from limited traffic and curbside pickup. Some others include:

  • Offers contactless payment
  • Offers virtual appointments
  • Checks temperature of customers and/or employees
  • Has a dedicated sanitizing staff
  • Sanitizes carts/baskets
  • Has Plexiglass shields at checkout
  • Bans resusable bags
  • Offers dedicated shopping hours
  • Has closed fitting rooms
  • Offers single-use samples
  • Sanitizes products after try-ons or demos

At b8ta stores, some of the precautions taken include mask wearing, and multiple groups of customers aren't allowed at the same time, according to Norby. Customers must be assisted by an employee, and surfaces are cleaned and disinfected after the customer has left. The company is also considering temperature checks for customers.

Norby's advice on reopening? Make sure your information is centralized, clear and all found in one place, he says. Start with your own website, and don't bury updates in your corporate blog, he adds. Also, don't roll out changes over time in announcements that customers are then left piecing together. 

Norby says he's been surprised by the pent-up demand from the customers who are venturing into his stores.

"The conversion rates are really crazy," he says. "They're not messing around when they come to stores. They're ready to buy."