In a few weeks, many more UK retail businesses will reopen. Are they fully prepared and will UK shoppers be instilled with enough confidence?
Over this past weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all non-essential retailers would be able to open their doors to the public from June 15th. The condition is that they must maintain and enforce social distancing measures.
The reopening will be excellent news so some, but not everyone will be joining in with the enthusiasm.
Large parts of the UK population are still worried about the thought of going to shops and outlets with other consumers. Many have stated they are unsure how to safely navigate the new environment, particularly without a vaccine readily available.
It’s close to three months since most UK retail businesses closed their doors. For every business who engages with the public, inspiring confidence is the key. However, opening the doors will undoubtedly put many shop owners minds at rest.
With the doors shut, problems continued to mount. During the lockdown, the sector has been hit with a large number of bad-news stories, particularly the tales of some larger chains getting into problems resulting in bail-outs and some cases administration.
Prime Minister Johnson’s announcement was not only well-timed but should help to put a much-needed boost into the UK’s fractured economy.
Without any doubt, the new retail landscape will be considerably different from the one seen a few months ago. The outbreak has had an enormous impact across every layer of society. In a few weeks, the onus will be squarely on the shoulders of retailers to show how they can protect customers and ensure their return is a successful one.
Will Broome, Founder and CEO of Ubamarket offers his thoughts on how retail business should adapt: “Despite the havoc that is being caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I believe that the crisis is bringing into focus a number of pre-existing problems with the way in which we shop. Ever-changing store layouts, outdated queues and checkouts, and the lack of communication between retailers and their customers are just some of the issues that COVID-19 has made very clear.
Now, the question facing retailers is not ‘when will things go back to normal’ but rather ‘how can we adapt our offering to make sure we are aligned with the changing trends and new retail landscape?’. Adhering to the new guidelines established by the government in terms of cleanliness, social distancing and hygiene measures is, of course, essential, but that is only one piece of the puzzle.
After Coronavirus, the world won’t go back to how was – people will be more hygienic and convenience-conscious, and retailers will be looking for ways to adapt to the shift in consumer behaviour and protect themselves against future shortages.”
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