After what’s seemed like a very long winter, it seems like there’s finally some light at the end of the tunnel!
After Boris Johnson’s announcement last week, it was very encouraging to hear the government’s plans for the UK exiting lockdown – and hopefully returning to some normality.
Whilst the first stage will see schools re-open, step two will see non-essential retail and close-contact services, such as hairdressers and nail salons, open on 12th April.
Over the past 12 months, bricks-and-mortar stores have had to open and close due to national and local lockdowns. In earlier re-openings, retailers navigated crowd control, introducing one-way systems and designated spaces for people to queue.
Following the re-opening plans, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said in a statement: “We welcome the additional clarity provided by the Prime Minister… Non-essential shops are ready to reopen and have been investing hundreds of millions on making themselves Covid-secure. Government should remain flexible and allow non-essential retail to reopen as soon as the data suggests it is safe to do so.”
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, Sage, thinks that, in general, non-essential retail is “low risk” when these measures are in place and masks are worn.
And, after many months of being constricted to walks and shopping online, data from the previous reopening shows that consumers are ready to make a return.
According to Google Mobility data surrounding the 15th June re-opening, there was a steady rise in visits to retail or recreational spaces (compared to January – March 2020 as a baseline), resulting in around a 20% improvement every few weeks. With a further national lockdown and some areas having been placed in Tier 4 weeks and months before this, consumer desire to revisit physical retail spaces will hopefully see a similar return.
Return to Trading Checklist
We’ve been supporting our customers throughout the pandemic, regardless of their sector, but now as non-essential retail looks set to open its doors, what sort of things should your store staff bear in mind before welcoming back your customers?
Based on our decades of retail experience, we’ve put together our Return to Trade Checklist. Including all the IT and tech know how, it provides a list of essential checks for your retail teams to make.