*pic from @paper_smiths in Bristol
As the UK Government announced that all non-essential shops can reopen from the 15th of June we hope to see some normality return to our High Street.
However, the reality for shops will now look quite different to what it used to be, with limits to the number of people allowed in, and restrictions on how people move around shops.
We had the great opportunity talk with different EU stores who shared with us tips as they reopened already their doors to the public. Restrictions are different in each country and we have seen that each shop has a different capacity, but overall feedback has been very positive!
People are willing to spend money after lockdown and the shops have seen a 20-50% increase in sales since the ease of lockdown. Customers have shown that they want to enjoy themselves and try new things so it is a good opportunity to gain new customers.
Don't forget about you online store - under the lockdown there’ve been an increase in online sales that is still going on even after the reopening of the store (100-80%)
Stores reported sales increase mainly of their homeware and lifestyle offering, and more expensive products have been selling well too.
Don't be afraid to adapt your product line to keep in line with current demands and needs - it will work.
Check out our homeware section to get some fresh inspiration.
It may be helpful to give discounts on fashion products as customers are not as willing/able to try things on before buying, but a reduced price will give them an incentive to buy.
Keep your customers informed about your opening hours via social media and email campaigns. If not on a High Street and you reduced you opening hours, encouraged people to warn them before they come to their showroom. This worked will allowed you to control the number of people visiting at any given time.
Ensure you have hand washing facilities (or hand sanitiser) available for both staff and customers.
Ensure that all customers wear a face mask and gloves when inside the store - it would be good to keep some extra masks in your store so that you can provide them to the customers that don't have one.
You can support other independent stores by buying their sustainable masks, which are also way nicer! More info here.
Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage and visual aids.
Use signs inside and outside the shop to guide customers on best practices. For example, a path on the floor using stickers and indicators to guide clients on a route that minimises crossing other customers.
Define the number of customers that can reasonably follow 2m social distancing within the store and any outdoor selling areas.
Frequently clean objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, etc.
Fitting rooms should be closed wherever possible but if they are essential, they should be cleaned very frequently, typically between each use. Steaming has been used as a method to clean fabric.
Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.
Overall, the reopening of shops in Europe has been overwhelmingly positive. People are very nice and happy to follow guidelines but shops have also been doing their best to accommodate the new normal.
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