Retail reopens: top tips for shops
For so many of us, the retail lockdown has felt like a lifetime. With customers staying home, and shops unable to open their doors, there’s no doubt that this has been one of the most challenging times the retail industry has ever come up against. That’s why we’re thrilled that April, the long-awaited month of reopening, is finally here!
To recap the timelines, all retailers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland deemed “non-essential” will be able to welcome customers back from 12th April 2021, with their Scottish counterparts able to open their doors on 26th April 2021.
But, whilst this will come as a welcome relief to many, the work’s not quite done yet. To help you make the most of your shop’s grand reopening this month, we’ve compiled some top tips and essential guidance to ensure you and your customers stay safe in store.
Making customers feel safe
Above all else, your role as a retailer is to make the in-store experience as good as possible for your customer. Whilst this includes great customer service and show-stopping visual merchandising, right now, safety is paramount. For savvy retailers looking to drive footfall, your customers’ safety and comfort should be your number one priority; this will make all the difference when it comes to enticing nervous customers back in.
First thing’s first, make sure all of your health and safety measures are visible to the customer. We know this isn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing, but it will reassure shoppers that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe. Aside from visible cleaning and sanitising products, PPE and signage, you can also consider keeping your door open. This will allow for fresh air to flow freely and will also add that symbolic welcoming gesture signifying that you’re ready to see customers again.
Customer service will also play a crucial role in letting shoppers know they’re in good hands. Brief your team on your Covid-safe procedures so that everyone knows what they should be doing and can answer customers’ questions at the drop of a hat.
Lastly, take social distancing guidelines seriously. Allow plenty of space for customer’s to move around the shop. Tempting though it can be to let as many customers in as possible, implement queuing systems and crowd-control measures to make sure your shopping experience is still a pleasant one. This could also mean you rearrange your shop space and hold some stock back, allowing for more walkable floor space whilst creating a sense of openness to avoid overwhelming customers.
We’ve already broken down the essential guidelines that retailers must follow in detail here but here are a few things to remember:
Allow for social distancing inside your shop, remembering that any staff on duty will contribute to your instore headcount. Consider one-way systems around the shop floor.
- Consider restocking outside of opening hours.
- Remove seating areas and keep changing rooms closed to minimise the time customers stay in store.
- Place cleaning equipment front and centre, with stations including hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes or sprays for customers to clean baskets.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces especially around high traffic areas.
- Encourage contactless and/or card payments instead of handling cash.
- Make sure your team are safe and aware of all guidelines and encourage good hygiene practices.
- Consider delivery logistics for in- and outbound goods. Ensure drop-off and collection points are well marked and allow for social distancing, encouraging drivers to stay in their vehicles where possible.
Whether you’re opening on 12th April, 26th April or you’re biding your time, we want to wish you the very best of luck! Don’t forget to join us as we reopen our doors this September! Autumn Fair will be returning to the NEC Birmingham on 5th - 8th September 2021. Head to the Autumn Fair website to register your interest and we’ll let you know when it’s time to book your ticket!
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