BIRA Covid-19 independent retail guides

This resources comprises two short guides from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), providing tips about trading during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first, provides a 10-step ‘life after lockdown’ strategy which, although written during the first UK lockdown, remains relevant with the additional restrictions now being witnessed. And the second, focuses on cost-effective ways to promote businesses online during the pandemic.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

[1] Life after lockdown: [external link]

[2] Five ways to promote your retail business during lockdown…for free: [external link]

This resource comprises two short guides from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), providing tips about independent trading during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first guide focuses on helping independent retailers to look ahead at recovery from the crisis and ensuing lockdowns through providing a 10-step guide, as summarised below:

BIRA’s 10-steps for ‘life after lockdown’

  1. Exit plan - clear exit strategies from government can help to inform the recovery plans of independent retailers.
  2. Financial stimulus - financial incentives from government for consumers to return to the high street would help with retailer recovery.
  3. Furlough scheme extension - through extending the furlough scheme, a hard exit from lockdowns can be prevented and jobs potentially saved.
  4. Cooperation with other services - other key services should be considered in recovery and reopening plans, such as public transport, which impacts centre footfall.
  5. Working together - stakeholder collaboration is essential when creating future visions and strategies for high streets and town centres.
  6. Multi-channel sales - through technology, businesses will be able to engage in omni-channel retailing and create an online presence needed in these challenging times.
  7. Customer first - independent retailers have an opportunity to be at the heart of the local community by providing enhanced customer service levels.
  8. Sustainable retail - environmental concerns have continued during the pandemic, and it is important that retailers adapt to these changing consumer demands.
  9. Customer experience - as consumers gradually return to the high street, independent retailers can provide an enhanced consumer experience through engagement, knowledge, and product variety.
  10. Be brave - the pandemic has provided an opportunity for businesses to experiment and innovate in new ways, which should be capitalised upon.

The second BIRA guide focuses on five cost-effective ways to promote independent businesses online during the pandemic and any associated lockdowns, as summarised below:

BIRA’s 5 tips for promotion during lockdown

  1. Window displays - these are essential sites through which retailer services can be promoted to consumers (e.g. click-and-collect and delivery services). Engaging and unique window displays can also help to get the local community talking about the business. They are also important places where retailers can provide reassurance to customers about the safety measures in place.
  2. Social media - social media channels become the key voice of the company when the shop itself might be closed due to government restrictions. It can be used to reassure customers and inform them about any new services provided.
  3. Google business details - information about the business listed on Google has become even more important during the pandemic, as customers try and find which are open. Key business details such as address, opening times, phone number, and website are important for keeping customers informed.
  4. Email regulars - if you have consent to do so, emailing customers can help to ensure they are informed of any changes or new measures, and to keep the communication channels open.
  5. Website - it is now more important than ever for a business to have an up-to-date website. As well as products being sold, the website could provide information about any new services, opening times/dates, Covid-19 secure messaging, product trends and any special offers.