With the announcement that non-essential retailers should get the go-ahead to re open on 15th June we speak to Molly Coleman from Baby Birds, an independent nursery retailer situated in Weymouth, about their plans moving forward
Firstly, how have you and your team been during lockdown?
“We have all had a good break, spent time with our families and managed to create a better work/ life balance. It’s something we’re hoping to work on moving forward, even when things go back to normal.”
Have you been able to service customers still through online and phone orders with the lockdown in place?
“Yes, we are lucky to have a thriving online business. We haven’t had our phone lines active as our team have been working from different locations. We are also lucky that our team are happy to work outside of normal hours so our customers have been getting fast responses via e mail.”
Is there anything different that you have noticed about consumer buying habits during this time?
“The biggest surprise for us has been people willing to buy and pay in full for large purchases, without messing around with the price. We usually have a lot of price match requests but recently customers have been more concerned about getting their items in time than getting a good discount. It’s a refreshing change and great to be making a decent margin.”
Have you begun to put things in place in store to help with social distancing and increased hygiene practises when your shop re opens? Has there been enough support/guidance about this?
“Guidance is only just being released ready for the 15 June opening. We haven’t taken any appointments yet, as we plan to ensure we’re compliant first. The store will be opening on an appointment only basis to begin with, maximum two people at a time and using a taped-off area for demonstrations. It’s very difficult to remain safe and give the customer a positive experience, so we’d rather open on a limited basis and really focus on giving the best possible service.”
Do you have anything special planned for customers when you can re-open again next month?
“We need to ensure we can open safely before planning any big events. We’re limiting the number of people allowed in store at any one time, to limit any issues with social distancing. The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive, most of our customers are more concerned about being able to shop safely at the moment.”
Lastly, what is the one positive thing you will take from lockdown?
“We’re a family-run business, and tend to see each other more at work than at home! When lockdown is over, we’ll be reassessing our work-life balance and ensuring our team have that flexibility too.”