As the UK’s lockdown goes on, many businesses are trying to use the time as wisely as possible. For non-essential businesses, online services are being developed. Delivery services and broadcasted content are being offered while physical shops remain closed. Some companies are finding success in this new model, even managing their business out of private residences. This is great news for the high street following the alleviated lockdown as these resilient stores will have more stability and security when looking to reopen.
Other businesses, however, don’t have the luxury of operating online and, instead, are looking to make use of their time in other ways. A large part of this is redesigning and renovating.
No one is certain what the high street will look like once the general public is able to shop once again. While there is some reservation about the speed at which the economy will recover, many are hopeful that the high street’s familiar buzz will return quickly and that many are at home anticipating the ability to shop again. For some stores, a renovation has been overdue and forced closure is an ideal time to begin.
As such, businesses across the UK have begun redesigning their stores for a new level of custom. Some are cautiously adjusting their shop layouts for a lessened capacity, choosing to increase stock and shelving, while others are choosing to build more flexible options, installing modular storage and shelving, such as slatwall panels, so that regardless of the custom, they will be able to adapt.
Even if a renovation isn’t on the cards, many businesses are realising that safety will be at the forefront of customer minds. Even if the COVID-19 virus is resolved, the period of social distancing and the fear of a resurgence in the aftermath of the pandemic is sure to have a psychological effect on the way we conduct ourselves.
As such, stores are installing safety panels between staff and reorganising their shelving to allow a greater distance between shoppers. The concern for many is that, if shoppers cannot feel comfortable browsing, they may not browse at all. The same goes for cafes and restaurants and, while the doors are closed, staff are looking to move tables further apart to encourage diners to return with peace of mind.
Once the high street begins to reopen, there will be a large amount of competition. Money that has been saved during the lockdown will be free to spend and, for businesses wanting to survive, it will be important to appeal to customers. A fresh appeal, encouraging customers to enjoy the high street will be important during economic recovery as all businesses compete to recover lost profits and reestablish their place on the high street.
Since doors have shut, business owners are using the opportunity to repair and redesign parts of their store’s aesthetics, not only making the most of a difficult situation but also wanting to ensure that they are even more popular when their doors eventually reopen.