12th April 2021 is a big day for British retailers and for the road out of lockdown, as ‘non-essential’ shops will be allowed to open their doors to customers once more. Although businesses are still sceptical of government promises, the consistent fall in Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations, and deaths has given many people a sense of renewed optimism and purpose.
When shops reopened after the first lockdown last summer, many people were extremely wary of social contact and the virus risk it carried. However, the success of the vaccination programme so far has given people greater confidence as they prepare to renew their lives, with the feeling that the end of the road, finally, is in sight.
After a dismal and gruelling winter, consumers are keen to start visiting the shops again, and many businesses are anticipating a high street retail boom throughout the spring and summer. What can retailers do to coax customers away from Amazon and back to the high street, and to provide the best possible welcome?
1) Give Customers A Sense Of Normality
No one who visited a high street last summer or autumn could have been in any doubt that we were in the midst of a serious pandemic. Hygiene and safety measures were aggressively promoted, partly to reassure customers but also to genuinely reduce the risk of infection. Safety and social distancing remain important, of course, and shops should empathise with the concerns of customers who are still extremely cautious. However, people are thoroughly fed-up with lockdown now and will be looking to ‘retail therapy’ as a dose of happy escapism.
Take the necessary steps to keep staff and customers safe, but do try and return to a pre-Covid shopping experience as much as possible. Don’t be over-assertive with ‘Covid-safe’ measures and messages the second customers walk through your doors, and make things as easy as possible for people to browse and purchase goods in the way they want to, in an environment that is sensitive to customer’s needs.
2) Put On A Big Welcome!
Retailers will be glad to have their customers back, and customers are looking forward to returning to their favourite shops as well. As practical and convenient as online retail is, it is the experience of a ‘shopping trip’ that will bring people back to the high street.
Put on a big welcome and let customers know how much you appreciate them being there. Be approachable, friendly, calm and caring. Make sure your staff are primed to smile, and to take time to help customers. The experience may be difficult for some of your staff, too, so a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of preparation is important to ensure that no one becomes emotionally overwhelmed or stressed. The appearance of your shop is also important. If your doors have been closed for a while, clear out the dust, make sure the shop is not fusty or stale smelling, and consider taking the last few weeks before reopening to carry out carpet cleaning, a new spot of paint, and any last-minute decoration tasks.
The reopening coincides with the start of spring, so it’s a great opportunity to make the shop look full, colourful, and appealing. Make sure shelves are full, and consider putting up new displays or decorations to welcome returning customers.
3) Build A Buzz Ahead Of Reopening Day
The reopening is the perfect excuse to roll out new product lines, offer enticing discounts, and provide positive in-store experiences. This is something that high street retailers have always traditionally excelled at, but as footfall on the high street is still low at the moment, ensure that communication across your social channels is up-to-date, with information easily available about store opening times and what will be happening on particular dates. If your opening hours have been changed on Google on your website during lockdown, now is the time to update them so that customers know you’ll be open.
How We Can Help
At Kudos Giftwrap, we produce bespoke luxury product packaging, boxes, wrapping, and presentation cases for a variety of products, including jewellery, chocolates, cosmetics, lingerie, and electronics. These can enhance the shelf appeal of your products, creating a positive retail experience for your customers and boosting sales as the economy returns to normal. To find out more, please get in touch with one of our service team today.
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