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Will Chesterfield shoppers flock to the stores as retail reopens?

It’s been nearly three long months since retail shut up shop, but there’s light at the end with the Government announcing that non-essential retail can now re-open.  But, with lockdown restrictions still a big part of our everyday life, will shoppers return to the stores or give them a wide berth? 

We’ve surveyed would-be shoppers from Chesterfield to understand if and when they’ll return to the shops, and what they’re concerns are when they do. 

Please help us build a picture of the future of retail by taking our short shopping survey.

Let’s quickly recap what measures will be in place on June 15th

This is not business as usual. The Government recently issued a raft of guidelines for retailers to follow to avoid the transmission of the virus. The impact of these on the shopping experience is likely to be considerable.  Before we jump into the survey results, here’s a quick round-up of the announced changes at some of the UK’s largest stores. 

Staff at John Lewis are installing social distancing measures in preparation for re-opening on June 15th. Credit bbc.co.uk.

Newly announced UK shopping measures

  • Limited shopper numbers - Expect to wait in queues outside because many stores will be limiting the number of entrances they have open and imposing a restriction on the number of customers entering at any one time.
  • No trying before buying - Not at John Lewis anyway. Their fitting rooms will remain closed for the foreseeable.
  • Getting around - the use of escalators and lifts may be restricted.
  • Perspex protective screens at checkouts will be in place at Boots, with counters and tills covered. Testers and face-to-face beauty consultations will operate via video.
  • Ikea will re-open with reduced hours and staff will patrol the aisles in Ikea and Boots to ensure that customers remain two metres apart.
  • Other steps that could be taken include  - virtual queuing, returns drop boxes, and enabling the collection of online orders from car parks. Click-and-collect only.

So, will Chesterfield be heading to the shops on June 15th?

Yes . . . and no! While 88% of people surveyed say they plan to return to High Street shops, it may be more of a trickle than a stampede. Of the respondents, 43% said they plan to shop less than they did pre-COVID-19, while 45% anticipate they will shop the same and 8% say they plan to shop more.

Graph showing how people expect to shop once COVID-19 restrictions are eased on June 15th.

The future remains uncertain for shopping centres

So while there is some hope for the High Street, it’s a different picture for shopping centres with 51% of people planning to visit indoor shopping centres less than they did before and 47% planning to visit retail parks less than pre-lockdown.

People plan to visit shopping centres less post-lockdown.

So, will people just be shopping less?

It’s a mixed bag. What’s interesting to see is that while lots of people plan to avoid indoor retail parks and centres, 11% of those surveyed said they would be shopping more in outdoor centres or High Streets. It’s no surprise then that 34% of people surveyed plan to shop online more than they did pre-lockdown.

Graphs showing people intent to shop online post-lockdown restrictions being lifted for retail.

What can the stores do to entice more shoppers?

Unsurprisingly, people want to feel safe. Whether they walk tentatively into the stores or sprint through the gates on June 15th, shoppers want to see social distancing measures taken seriously. 55% of surveyed shoppers want to see social distancing measures in place while 19% feel that limiting the shopper numbers is the most important factor to getting them back through the doors.

Graph showing peoples’ intent to shop online post-lockdown restrictions being lifted for retail.

Key takeaway

What’s clear is that the people of Chesterfield aren’t sold on retail re-opening. Though 19% of people surveyed feel that shopper numbers should be limited, 65% of people flagged that long queues are their biggest barrier to shopping at all.  Also, it’s worth noting that entertainment, clothing and electrical stores barely featured when we asked people what type of shops they had missed the most. Restaurants and cafes were top with 38% while for 36% of the respondents it was the salon they’d missed the most. 

The reality is that there’s still a long way to go before retail resembles anything like its pre-COVID state. With 50% of people in Chesterfield admitting to being nervous to shop, there’s a lot that needs to be done to encourage shoppers back through the doors.

45% of people are nervous to shop when the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Please help us build a picture of the future of retail by taking our short shopping survey.