This week the news has been full of predictions about how, when lockdown eases, pent-up demand will be unleashed as consumers start to spend the millions that many of them have been sitting on over the past year. Here Simon Acres, director of Simon Acres Group, asks: Are you ready for the end of lockdown?
As we look ahead to spring, we may not know much about the timing of the end of the lockdown, or have details of any phased easing of restrictions but it is important to plan ahead.
Now is the time to look at your business and consider what you need to have in place to be able to make the most of opportunities when this lockdown comes to an end. There was a noticeable rise in demand for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms following the first lockdown, and we can expect this to happen again.
After the first lockdown, the pent-up demand created a surge of enquiries and we were busy with requests for our services that directly supported capturing additional sales. So much so, that we are investing now to meet an expected repeat and perhaps even greater demand.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that those who have been restricted from spending on holidays, going out, cars and other luxuries, will be looking to improve their home. There is also demand arising from people working from home, and finding that they want to upgrade their kitchens. They have learnt to live differently and will be looking to enhance their experience with more living areas, appliances such as coffee machines, home wine stores, and outdoor kitchens for home entertainment.
Retailers have the opportunity to plan and prepare now so that they are ready to make the most of the upturn/pent up demand as soon as possible.
At Simon Acres Group we are advising our customers to look at those staff still on furlough and consider investing in additional sales training, which is readily available online and more affordable than ever. Our retailers are also looking at their staffing levels – when they bring staff back from furlough, will it be enough, and will additional installers, sales or design personnel be required to meet the increased demand?
In addition to our introduced sales enquiries, deposit protection and popular consumer finance solution, our media team have also been busy, helping retailers improve their digital presence during lockdown. While the showroom is still a core element of the retailer's offer, the lockdown has required businesses to find additional ways to maintain the dialogue with their audiences and capture enquiries from new potential customers. Websites can be improved to work harder and provide more, drawing visitors in to make virtual appointments more readily. Films and video such as filmed testimonials are a great way to make it personal and bring the personalities of your business to the customer. There is still time to invest time into adding to your digital profile, ensuring that you are visible and easy to engage with.
We must not waste the opportunity to learn from the first lockdown – our advice is to act now, and be ready to give your business the best opportunity to thrive.