‘Our sector has the potential to recover much quicker than others’: why businesses should capitalise on the newly captive home-audience
Steve Jones, Commercial Director, Sirius Buying Group, argues that businesses should establish themselves online during the COVID-19 crisis
‘If anything positive is to come from this global crisis, then it’s identifying the need for us all to take a more fortified approach to business so our bases are covered. With Covid-19 lockdown set to continue into May, we have been guiding members through the latest HMRC business support packages and advising them on financial planning to offset debts and liabilities. With the high street effectively out-of-bounds, businesses need to capitalise on this newly captive home-audience by ensuring a strong visibility online. This will ensure they remain visible to their customers until it is safe to open up their retail space to the public once again.
‘As we begin to see restrictions lifted, we predict the independent is going to be subject to a new age of retail, where it will take time for shoppers to be willing to travel to the high street for intent-purchases, rather than casual browsing. With this in mind, it is crucial to maintain a fully-stocked catalogue of products, both online and in-store, so that UK retailers can strike whilst the iron’s hot.
‘Interestingly, during this period of lockdown many UK homeowners have formed new lifestyle habits like preparing and cooking meals from scratch, so we urge UK retailers to stay abreast with market change. By doing so, you will be able to take advantage of this developing situation and new market appetite for home improvement. I strongly believe that our sector has the potential to recover much quicker than others, as we’re used to working in a ‘distress market’ that is in constant flux and forever dictated by changing buying habits and outside market influences. Without the benefit of a reliable website, you will be forfeiting access to an available customer base and miss out on invaluable supplier support.
‘Official government statistics reveal that there are 32.6 million people in employment across the UK, of which 8.7 million already work from home. This means being ‘at home’ day and night is going to become the norm during the coronavirus outbreak for over 23 million employees – all with the freedom and ability to surf the net.
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‘For established bricks and mortar electrical appliance retailers, we understand that establishing a digital footprint may be daunting. However, you can’t afford to be anonymous online when real-needs still need to be serviced, but now remotely. Spending more time at home will inevitably lead to increased utility and so appliances are more likely to breakdown and require repair work, be replaced and/or upgraded. In fact, staying in the confines of home has created new market desire for small renovation projects where homeowners are updating their interior décors by tiling and painting walls, ripping out old kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as shopping around for the latest home appliances on the web.’