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Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead
Halloween is often associated with scary things and dark times, and, whilst it was a coincidence, it was unfortunate timing for Boris Johnson’s announcement for the second national retail lockdown measures.
Announced on Halloween, the new measures will see closures to all non-essential retail stores from Thursday 5th November for at least one month. Whilst this would be damaging for any time of year, it’s a huge kick for retail during its “golden quarter” as the government-mandated closures will happen not only over Black Friday, but also during a time when consumers are starting their Christmas shopping. Whilst many retailers had already predicted a more digital Christmas for 2020 than in previous years, – with some consumers keeping their distance from the high street due to safety concerns and with fewer people working in city centre locations – this second retail lockdown will surely send online retailing into overdrive.
So, what does this mean for bricks-and-mortar retail?
Firstly, several retailers are expanding their trading hours before the second national lockdown comes into effect, sharing details of late-night shopping so that consumers can buy their pre-lockdown purchases and even get ahead on their Christmas shopping lists. The BRC (British Retail Consortium) is also out to help retailers after its latest campaign called for consumers to “shop early, start wrapping, enjoy Christmas”. Before the second lockdown was announced, Yodel’s chief executive, Mike Hancox, told Retail Week they had been operating at ‘peak’ levels since the first lockdown in March, with volumes up 20% compared with normal and was expecting Christmas to be another 20% on top of that, so for consumers and delivery firms alike, it’s even better to pick up some Christmas purchases now and not waiting for online delivery.
However, non-essential retailers are still allowed to open bricks-and-mortar locations if they operate a click and collect service. John Lewis is one retailer who have expanded their collection points, which also includes Waitrose sites, 57 drive-thru locations and third-party sites such as 500 Co-op stores. John Lewis have also collaborated with Nespresso and Sweaty Betty so that their customers can also use its click-and-collect locations over the Christmas trading period. Whilst click and collect services obviously offer convenience to customers – especially for those who can’t be at home to accept deliveries – they also offer the chance to welcome customers in store locations, heightening brand awareness and offering another way of engaging with their customer base during the retail lockdown.
For brands worried about their bricks-and-mortar stock, tying it together in one stock pool – rather than siloed online or bricks-and-mortar stock – is crucial. Why run out of an item online if several of your physical stores have many still in stock and unable for consumers to purchase? OMIO Tablet empowers your retail store staff to accept orders and ship them from store whilst Merret Pro, our omnichannel solution, allows you to see stock as one entity, making it easier to move stock to where it’s needed most.
We’ve spent the last 21 years helping retailers and we’re certainly not stopping now. Whether it’s an IT project, moving to a remote working system or for solutions that help your business whatever the retail climate, give us a call so we can understand your challenges.
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