THE SHAPE OF RETAIL POST-COVID

25 Sep 2020

Creating a great in and ‘out’ store experience


How can retailers attract customers back to their physical stores while maintaining safety as the Covid-19 pandemic prevails?


Consumers’ shopping behaviour may have understandably changed during 2020 to shift online but talk of the end of the high street is massively overblown.

The lengthy queues that formed outside stores on the first day that lockdown restrictions were eased in England were a clear demonstration that many consumers still want to go to the high street to browse, physically see what they’re going to buy and socialise with friends. Research from Australia also found that only 2% of consumers said they would ‘never’ resume typical retail habits – visiting shops – which suggests the high street will be strong for many years to come.

But… retailers also need to manage risks and ensure that consumer appetite can be satisfied without exposing shoppers to avoidable dangers. Pre-pandemic retail patterns, shopping centres and retail space designs need to be flexible so they can adapt to Covid-19 and other crises in future, and that involves making greater use of outdoor spaces.

The hospitality sector is already leading the way here as Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality told The Guardian recently. She said, “There’s been quite a lot of investment in shelters, marquees, patio heaters and so on to make outdoors eating and drinking more appealing. Previously, our mentality has been that this is not something you do in winter, so it will be interesting to see if that changes.”

There is enormous opportunity for retailers as many premises have space available outdoors. Perhaps it is currently redundant or a ‘dumping ground’ serving no productive purpose. Now is the time to get creative and consider how this space could be transformed to be useful as and when you need it, particularly when you have on-demand, safe access to power, gas, data and other services.

Just think of the potential. Sheltered waiting areas complete with lighting and heating, hospitality zones where hot drinks and food can be served, additional sales space with full lighting, point of sale displays and power for till points – the possibilities are endless. The notorious unpredictable British weather needn’t prevent us making use of these spaces.
Achieving the transformation is simple by integrating Pop Up Power Supplies® retractable, pop up service units, in-ground service units or power bollards into your outdoor space. Once installed they are useable when you need them, hidden when you don’t. All units can be specified to suit your requirements and avoid the need to hire generators or run lengthy trailing cables from other parts of your premises, which not only looks unattractive, but presents trip hazards for customers and staff.

Looking to the future, global architectural practice Hassell believes that, as indoor air quality continues to be a greater focus to help address concerns about transmission of viruses via air circulation, ‘a greater mix of indoor and outdoor settings is crucial when planning a retail complex, like including multi-purpose balconies along facades for natural ventilation’. Planning your services infrastructure to accommodate the increased demand for outdoor facilities is therefore crucial. To discuss the possibilities for your retail premises further, please contact us or call 020 8227 0208.

Parks across the UK, including Victoria Park in east London, are already benefiting as a result of having the right infrastructure provided by UK company Pop Up Power Supplies®. It offers a range of retractable, pop up units and in-ground service units that can be integrated into any park or public space. These ensure food stalls, performance stages, large screens, PA systems, heaters and many more applications can connect as and when they need to in order to provide park-goers with entertainment, food and drink, etc.

The beauty of Pop Up Power Supplies® service units is that they are only visible when required and in-use. The pop up service units are raised from and lowered into the ground using a simple turn handle when they are needed and hidden away safely when not. In-ground service units are permanently submerged and feature a flip-lid for access to power and any other services specified, and they can be used with the lid locked down for additional security.

Pop Up Power Supplies® also provides a full design and specification service to support specifiers and ensure any park can be installed with the right safe, secure, on-demand power and services infrastructure. To find out more please contact us.

Within the range of retractable, pop up service units are four options providing a power supply of 63, 125 or 600 Amps. These can also be specified to provide water, gas, telephony and other services too. When required, a simple turn handle allows the units to be raised from the ground for users to connect and begin operating. After use, the units are easily returned to the ground, with recessed lids accommodating matching paving slabs and other surrounding surface materials.

The six options in the range of flip-lid, in-ground service units from Pop Up Power Supplies® offer similar configuration flexibility and services access with the benefit of being permanently submerged and usable while the lids are locked down. This offers another layer of health and safety assurance and can be more appropriate in smaller spaces.
A further option comes with power bollards. These stainless steel bollards are elegantly designed to complement any landscaping or design intent, providing on demand access to between 220 and 400 volts and 125A of power, with configurations to suit any client needs.

Contact us today to discuss how our retractable, in ground or bollard service units can unlock the potential of your outdoor space.