Last Thursday Abi Neill, owner of Abigail’s Collection & The Groom’s Room, went Live on Facebook to answer our questions on re-opening. Abi rounds up her session on positive preparation.
Finally, ‘non-essential’ retailers have the official green light to open again. We’ve heard the news regarding the date that many retailers, designers, suppliers, and manufacturers have been waiting for. The official date which allows non-essential retailers serve members of the public is June 15th 2020.
My recent Facebook Live is a great starting point when considering how to re-open and with what measures. There were many excellent questions asked and a great deal of positivity shared amongst retailers - thanks to all who participated and shared solutions and resources including websites to visit for supplies. You can watch the video here:
Opening our shops again following this unprecedented time requires thought, effort, and positive leadership. It’s wise not to overthink and panic although at times we all know that can be hard. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m in no way undervaluing the very real devastation and seriousness of this crisis, all of us have been adversely affected in some way. Nor would I dream of underestimating the great rebuild and recovery task that we as an industry now face together.
Optimistically speaking; now is the time to galvanise ourselves, start planning and move forward towards our ‘new normal’. We’ll all make individual decisions regarding a re-opening date and need to formulate our own social distancing policies and COVID-19 safety measures. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ so don’t be alarmed or intimidated if competitors or other industry players are doing things a little differently or opening sooner (or later) than you. You need to decide what is right for you, for your team, for your store and for your customers – these decisions are your own, just as they were when you launched your business model initially.
I started my preparations by reading the government guidance document - ‘Working Safely During Covid-19 in Shops and Branches’ document. It sets out advice on how to work safely and it gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in retail environments generally. Each business owner will need to ‘translate this into the specific actions depending on the nature of business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated’.
Planning at a time like this is key. I found consulting with my team made me feel more organised and confident about re-opening. Managing employees and their return to the work place requires a careful and supportive approach and it’s my view (certainly in terms of my own team) that they will feel supported having been consulted on your key operating challenges and the changes you implement.
For the purpose of this brief article, here’s a rundown of the headline guidance. Please note that this is my interpretation of the guidance. You should read and interpret the guidance in full and implement a strategy of your own for your business.
A more in-depth look into the above steps can be found in the video at the top of the article.
It’s exciting to see that many retailers are rallying and making plans to re-open but we need to stay agile and flexible and be prepared for more changes and policies to be updated as the COVID-19 situation unfolds. Today I sense a marginal air of excitement and cautious optimism blooming amongst us, but we all know things could change (and quickly) so we need to be ready for that too.
Many will agree that our industry is a very special one and I am really looking forward to bouncing back to a new normal.
Check out www.abineill.co.uk for more on COVID-19 Recovery or to connect with Abi Neill.