With the recent announcements from the UK Government indicating a possible exit plan from this pandemic lockdown, we have been provided with information on what our life after lockdown might look like and how we will have a ‘new normal’. Dates for businesses and non-essential shops to reopen has also been provided. We believe that now is an important time to produce some key information for you to help get your business up and running again as quickly, smoothly, and as safely as possible.
The UK Government has said that non-essential shops can open from 15 June and others will remain closed for the time being. This means that a lot of businesses will be back up and running soon, however not all businesses will decide to open or be allowed to open on these dates.
(The current plan is for pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, and gyms set to reopen July 4).
Shopping as we remember it may never return to what it was prior to this pandemic and a lot of changes will be in place once businesses reopen. These changes are to ensure that your customers can be as safe as possible when entering and shopping on your premises and that’s why we will see a lot of changes in stores.
Gyms will also be dramatically different. The BBC has produced an article highlighting what gyms could look like when they reopen, and they use an example of a Hong Kong gym that is currently open to highlight some of their implemented changes. Some things they have implemented are perspex screens, supermarket type spacing, shorter classes, longer breaks and different peak times to name just a few.
So what’s important to consider from this? – Are you and your business ready to reopen? – The key part in this is preparation and planning. You will need to plan a way for your business to reopen in the safest way possible and abide by the government rules and restrictions (which do change often).
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the risks involved in using cash as a form of payment as physical money could carry the coronavirus germs, so a lot of people have been using contactless payments to avoid using physical cash and the limit was recently raised to £45 to help with this. Therefore, it’s crucial if your business has no method of taking cashless alternative payment methods that you investigate this for your business. Consumer trends have previously shown that contactless payments have overtaken cash as the most commonly used payment method; some people have also produced articles describing how we may well become a cashless society in the future.
As well as this, the coronavirus pandemic has also affected consumer habits making it even more evident that cashless payments are on the rise and this form of payment has become more important than ever.
One thing that needs to be considered that we have not mentioned yet, is how you will keep your employees safe. We have highlighted how you need to keep your customers safe and gave an example of what gyms will be doing. This is also relevant to convenience stores or other premises which have small public areas.
But there are other businesses that will need to consider different aspects; an example of this is offices. You may not have customers buying physical items from you at your office, but you do have a team that needs to work together to help the business thrive and these individuals probably aren’t going to work very well if they’re concerned about their safety going to an office. So office businesses will need to ensure the safety of their staff. This is highlighted by a Barclays bank manager stating, “The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past”. Therefore, expect changes such as offices remaining as hubs for senior managers and employees traveling into the office once or twice a week for meetings with the managers, meaning more home working is likely to ensue.
In conclusion from the recent updates concerning the country’s plan to come out of lockdown with non-essential shops reopening –there will still be restrictions and we still need to be careful and alert. But the recent announcements have effectively kick-started business again, as a lot of planning and preparation will be needed to ensure you are ready to open when this is applicable to you.
There are many things to consider in this, how your shop will have changes to ensure customers and employees safety, alternative payment options as people will likely be more hesitant with cash and ecommerce is another factor – will the high street recover? Or will online shopping take a step forward? – You don’t want to be underprepared, like Primark were, they’re a massive high street brand that had no ecommerce platform which meant that when lockdown was implemented their revenue dropped down to zero.
The steps may be small, but they are positive and will have a huge impact on everyone.