In the past weeks Professional Jeweller has heard from a selection of retailers about their plans for reopening stores on or after the 12 April date in England and Wales (or 26 April in Scotland).
Now, in this third and final edition of the follow-up series, we ask the best brands for their plans, what they are offering to retailers ahead of the date, and whether they have any advice for the big reopening.
In this edition Unique & Co’s Daniel Ozel and Monica Vinader’s Martin Byrne discuss the much-anticipated date.
PJ: Any forecasts for how the industry will fare in the weeks immediately following the reopening of non-essential retail?
Daniel Ozel, director, Unique & Co: We think it will be quite busy for retailers, as consumers will be happy to get out again and enjoy them self and spend. We had also a very busy period after the first lockdown last year and a pretty good Christmas business. Also spring time will come now and hopefully the mood will get better.
Martin Byrne, CCO, Monica Vinader: We are very confident that physical retail will do well in the period after reopening. We have already had two re-openings (June 2020 and December 2020) and on both occasions we found, as I think many retailers did, that customers quickly return and have not lost their desire for the in-store experience.
Our feeling is that the sector will rebound well and we will certainly be continuing to champion and develop our stores into the future as part of the full, omnichannel Monica Vinader experience.
How best can retailers prepare for the upcoming reopening?
DO: Organisational retailers should try to open as soon as possible and follow hygiene and social distancing requirements to give consumers confidence to visit their stores. Also, retailers need to be well stocked and also offer new products to consumers. It’s important to keep their offering fresh and attractive.
Further service like repairs, watch batteries, etc., will be in high demand initially, as shops were closed for a while.
MB: We have had a good deal of practice with fluctuating lockdowns, and ample time to prep, so I imagine retailers will be well prepared to reopen.
We all obviously need to review our own best practice for creating a safe, welcoming and enjoyable environment for customers and employees.
Thanks to our amazing team at Monica Vinader, we are well-equipped to open a safe and welcoming store, and the work now will be to take our customer experience to the next level, continuing to adapt to customers’ changing shopping preferences.
We have been fortunate in that many of our retail team have been able to work through lockdown providing virtual styling, customer care and other virtual services.
However, we also know that for others this has been a very challenging time away from colleagues, friends and the energy of retail. So, along with the detailed planning, this is an exciting period preparing to get back to the work we all love!
Will you be offering retailers any special packages or other support for the (as yet unannounced) date?
DO: We will probably not offer special packages or deals, as our products and collections are always reasonable and fairly priced. However we will always work with our retailers together and offer extended payment terms when needed and the best possible service and support. We will launch a wide spectrum of new and exciting collections for 2021 in all our departments and will support this through marketing.
MB: Delivering a world-class customer experience combined with exciting new product launches and collaborations is our core strategy for this year and that will be the focus when we reopen our UK stores. We always aim to surprise and delight customers who visit our stores and that will certainly be the case for reopening. Watch this space!