Pardon Our Dust: How To Stay In Business When Renovating

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Bud Morris

Pardon Our Dust: How To Stay In Business When Renovating

Posted on February 12, 2018 by Bud Morris

Business renovations can be an inconvenience to customers. The challenges are many, but the rewards of creating a better customer experience will be very fulfilling.

Business is booming, you’re excited about the change, and your business is considering a complete redo – renovations that will make the customer experience so much better.

Business renovations are absolutely necessary.

Physical improvements to your retail space will improve your bottom line, help you keep customers loyal to your brand, and drive new customers to your shopping experience.

But not everyone will be happy, and we mean customers. You can’t afford to lose them during any period of change. And you can’t afford a complete shutdown that can last for weeks.

If you’re getting ready to renovate, you’ll need to think strategically, and consider many things:

  • How do you stay open?
  • How can you continue offering a suitable shopping experience?
  • How do you minimize the inconvenience to customers?
  • How do you actually keep them shopping and wanting to come back for more?


Be patient. Stay calm. Always smile.

At CBSF, our retail clients are always looking to make their experiences more incredible than ever. And that can mean making changes to their physical environments as a response to market factors, changing consumer habits, and introducing new products.

So, when they come to us, they’re trusting that we’ll help them work through a successful construction period.

We’ll work with clients to understand the need for the change (determine why this change is necessary), design the right environment to complement their brand, and create a plan that’ll work for their business during and after the renovations (there’s no cookie-cutter approach to renovations, and a single plan will not work for all businesses).

You can’t hide, so don’t try.

Any renovation that happens during business hours is almost impossible to hide.
So, don’t try to cover up the fact that you’re renovating.

Be transparent about what’s going on. Your customers need to be informed and better able to negotiate the “currently under renovations” experience.

You need to make customers realize that the renovation experience can be good, and we’ll help you realize that it can be achieved in multiple markets.

We understand the apprehensions to do a renovation: It will impact business. But it’s a short-term hiccup that will achieve long-term results.

We heard you, and we’re making changes because you asked for them.

Yes, things can get messy (no worries, customers won’t see this) and some of the retail footprints might be temporarily unavailable. But you need to engage customers in a creative way and keep them informed. Make them feel a connection to your business by letting them know that this is being done for them because your business has listened to their feedback.

Whenever you can, redirect the need for changes back to customer feedback.

Also, make the disruption seem less rowdy, and more like a normal part of creating an exceptional experience.

  • Plan ahead, and make changes when necessary.
  • Work after hours for some of the jobs that can get a little too loud, dusty.
  • Always think health and safety.
  • Constantly keep your staff informed and communicate often.
  • Show plans of what the new space will look like.
  • Put a PR plan together.
  • Let customers know why you’re doing this – speak to them, and often.

Customers will notice the changes (they’re going to be too big not to notice), so don’t try hiding anything, and share every step of the process.

  • You can remain operational, just be confident.
  • You need to be friendly.
  • Provide renovation updates on a regular basis.
  • You will need to communicate to customers every day (add signage, email your subscriber list, and inform on your social media channels).

Just think business as usual, with just a slight interruption as you create the best experience possible.

Plan to work around the clock.

Let’s be blunt. No customer – especially a loyal customer – likes to have their shopping experience disrupted. And no business wants to disrupt their sales and revenue flow. But major renovations are needed since market factors drive the need for change. So, that means planning to work and shop around disruptions is necessary.

As part of the scope of a project and the comfort level of retailers, the renovation team (contractors, construction companies, engineers, architects, project managers) will determine how quickly the renovations can be done.

The health and safety of workers, retail employees, and shoppers is paramount during any renovation.

Phasing out the renovation process helps things go smoothly while minimizing the disruption to the shopping experience. When planning, we recommend dividing the retail footprint into four or five phases. Quarantine products in one phase and squeeze other products into another portion of the retail space, making one section inaccessible – this will be the phase where the renovation begins.

Although the brand experience may be minimized, temporary set-ups and establishing quadrants will enable products to remain accessible during the rebuilding process. Ensure the proper products are prominently displayed, and which can be displaced or combined with other product categories (displacing seasonal products, for instance, can make this process easier to manage).

Key takeaways:

  • Try to do business renovations with the least amount of disruptions.
  • Schedule work based on your best interests.
  • Run a “hard hat special” during renovations to entice loyal patrons to continue shopping, with the hopes that you’ll welcome new customers during renovations (they may, in fact, become regulars themselves).

Always think safety.

When renovating a retail space, there is no bigger challenge than keeping everyone safe. Yes, there’s a deadline. But this type of a project moves smoothly with meticulous planning and proper communication with stakeholders.

Signs, signs, and more signs! Ensure your customers know exactly what’s happening, where it’s happening, and what to avoid.

  • Let customers know what is accessible.
  • Mark things properly – show customers how to properly detour the retail space (prominent signage at the entrance, arrows on the floor, wall signs throughout).
  • Install signage that indicates where products are located, if they’ve been temporarily moved.
  • Show them what’s happening – an artist’s conception of what space will look like after the renovation will get people excited.

Construction can be a messy thing to deal with, so don’t forget to keep things clean. Sure, barricades help, but things can get dusty and loud. Take the necessary precautions to ensure shopping is still fun and not annoying.

Let the world know what’s up.

Renovations can be a big deal for a retail brand, large and small. Consider making the experience worthy of sharing because, after all, you’re doing this to make the shopping experience better than ever, and your customers will appreciate the changes.

  • Consider using local media resources to help garner attention – if the story is worth sharing, media will want to share, and people will want to listen.
  • Add incentives for the post-renovations/re-opening phase, even before the renovations are completed.
  • Stay active on social media and share what’s happening frequently on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Share the news in trade publications with an advertisement or editorial support.

During the renovations and once they’re completed, make sure everyone knows that it’s a big deal that business is back at full, uninterrupted steam. The news will be great for business.

Give them a reason to shop.

After weeks or maybe a couple months of construction, your tireless efforts to make your retail space as perfect as possible will come to life. And your loyal customers will be looking to be rewarded for braving the disruptions. So, have a sale! The loyal customer will be happy to shop and chat about the new experience, and you’ll attract new customers with the incentives to experience your new store.

Back to business as usual.

We’re going to make this really simple:

  • Be patient.
  • Be smart.
  • Be safe.
  • And keep the business going when you’re renovating.

By acknowledging that renovations will disrupt business, but are necessary evils to building on your success, you’ll quickly come to realize that your growing pains will pay off. And your customers will love you for it.
Ready to renovate? Then give us a call and let’s see what we can do for your business.