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Retail Playbook

This playbook is provided for the following types of retail establishments in Greater Des Moines (DSM): bookstores, clothing and shoe stores, jewelry stores, luggage stores, cosmetic, perfume, and beauty supply stores, florists, and furniture and home furnishing stores.

Sample: Clothing Retailer Risk Profile

Retail Risk Profile Frequency

Retail Risk Profile Duration

Retail Risk Profile Variety

The sample risk profile has been determined for clothing retailers in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*


Current Impact 

Current Impact

Future Trends 

Future Trends

Recommended Practices 

Recommended Practices

Community Partnership 

Community Partnerships

Additional Resources 

Additional Resources

Current Impact

Retail establishments have been a major contributor to DSM's continued success. Iowa retailers operate 43,000 individual establishments, employ 450K people, and generate $23.6B in economic impact (NFR Iowa). In congruence with other U.S. states, many Iowa retailers closed their doors on March 26 and remained closed until May 2020. Overall, more than 250,000 stores that sell nonessential merchandise have been shut down since mid-March, representing 60% of U.S. retail square footage.

Retail Sales Decline

8.7% Decline in Sales

Unused Retail Space

60% of Retail Space Unused

Unemployed Iowans

6,000+ Iowans Unemployed


Future Trends

Retail Distribution

Digital Distribution & Experience

Retailers will need to distribute products digitally and deliver strong virtual experiences.

Delivery Options

Robust Delivery & Pickup Offerings

Customers will expect safe and effective delivery options for physical products through common distribution centers.

Contactless Service

Contactless Payment and Self-Service

Contactless and self-serve point of sale equipment will be essential to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

Workforce Needs

Changing Workforce Needs

Workforce needs will evolve as customers leverage technology and expect a greater omnichannel experience.

Retail Partnership

Strategic Partnership Opportunities

Partnerships will emerge among retailers and like-minded organizations to unlock supply chain synergies, increase customer reach and improve the customer experience.

Recommended Practices

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from the local public health department.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay home. Employees who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should take precautions, including self-quarantine, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • Face masks and other PPE should be worn by employees and customers in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from the local public health department.
    • People two or older are required to wear a mask or face covering when inside an indoor public space and when social distancing is not possible for 15 minutes or longer. Exemptions include people with medical conditions, people working alone or where social distancing can be maintained, people consuming food or drink and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Employees handling cash should wear gloves.
  • Encourage customers to continue reasonable social distancing and wear protective equipment, especially if they are at higher risk.
  • Have hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water or similar disinfectant readily available to employees and customers. Place at entrances and exits, checkout stations and customer changing rooms. 
  • Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces such as point of sale (POS) equipment, entrance/exit doors and checkout lanes along with stock/merchandise. 
  • Train all employees on cleaning processes, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. 
  • Require employees to comply with guidelines on sanitation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the local public health department.

Retail Safety

Process & Space Modification

  • Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of six feet between workers and customers.
  • Stores with higher traffic should consider metering guests and marking spaces six feet apart at the sales registers and outside the entrance.
  • Consider modifying hours to ensure ample time to clean facilities and provide shopping hours for vulnerable guests.
  • Sales registers must be at least six feet apart.
  • Consider rotating the use of equipment to allow for periodic deep cleaning.
  • Protective screens may be installed at the discretion of each store.
  • Encourage customers to make non-cash payments. Receipts should be left on the counter or placed directly in the bag.
  • Provide an adequate number of trash receptacles.
  • Encourage use of a drive-through window or curbside pick-up if available.
  • Provide ways for customers to make digital purchases
  • Consider suspending returns and exchanges and extend consumers' ability to do so over a longer period of time.
  • Delivery personnel should refrain from entering facilities and adhere to Iowa Department of Health guidelines upon interaction with employees.
  • While safety is everyone's responsibility, designate an employee to monitor all safety procedures.
  • Post signage at the door indicating no one should enter the establishment if they currently have symptoms or have been around anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days.
  • Encourage customers to make appointments for services and shopping experiences to ensure fewer customers are in the location at the same time. This will put customers more at ease and allow employees to clean in between customers.
  • Consider implementing one-way aisles if a large enough store footprint exists.
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety guidelines state a retail establishment can estimate capacity by dividing the establishment's square footage by an occupant load factor of 100.

Retail Workspaces


  • Provide reminders to employees and customers to stay at least six feet away from others when in the facility and mark six-foot intervals when possible.
  • Post signage at the door indicating no one should enter the establishment if they currently have symptoms or have been around anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days.
  • Post signage for employees and customers that outline good hygiene and safety measures being taken.
  • Inform employees verbally and in writing of the safety standards and discuss them at employee meetings. 
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns immediately. 
  • Post updates regularly to employees and customers via websites, newsletters and social media as changes occur.

Retail Communication

Community Partnerships

The Great Frame Up Logo

Supporting Local Artists & Food Pantries

The Great Frame Up selling face masks made by a local artist and a portion of the sales is being donated to a local food pantry. The framing and art store plans to allow customers to shop at their location by appointment until cases begin to decline in Iowa. They instituted sanitation guidelines in late February and will continue to ensure that sanitization occurs in-between customer visits. Their staff is using hand sanitizer and wearing masks for all in store pick-ups and drop offs.

Five Monkeys Inc Logo

Projects To Go & Local Products

Five Monkeys is offering projects to go for their customers to complete at home. In order to further support and promote local artists and companies, the painting and pottery studio is offering local products with the take-home projects. A few of their recent kits include a soap dish project with soap from Green Mama Soaps and a ring holder project with a handmade wire wrap ring from Nymph in the Woods Jewelry.

Downtown Farmers' Market Logo

Digital Online and Distribution Partnerships

Customers will continue to seek online orders and home delivery for a wide range of goods. Consider partnering with providers who can enable online shopping and digital distribution. For instance, the Downtown Farmers' Market presented by UnityPoint Health offers opportunities for local vendors to sell to area customers in an interactive and virtual setting.

Additional Resources

Recommended Playbooks

The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.

Finance Button

Human Resources
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Information Technology
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Legal Button

Operations Button

Sales and Marketing
Sales and Marketing Button

*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.

Legal Disclaimer

The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.

Last updated: 5/8/2020