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Retail’s Response to COVID-19

Research report into how retailers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

A ‘shallow dive’ into the types of design interventions chain retailers are using to address the changing customer mindset post COVID-19. Looking through the lens of a customer, you’ll find solutions that retailers have currently implemented into their stores in order to comply with government guidelines to keep their staff and customers safe whilst in-store in this report.

While chain retailers often have longer routes to market for new initiatives, as an independent retailer, you can adapt quicker to demands and respond directly to the needs of your customers to ensure your customers and staff are safe and healthy.

Find ideas and inspiration here to implement in your independent retail business. Some of the tips from the report include:

  • In Vodafone stores with a large entrance, customers are asked to enter on one side, and exit from the other, staff members regulate the number of customers in the store using a retractable barrier.
  • O2 provide full plastic face shields and gloves which must be worn by staff when working closely with customers. Disposable face masks are worn by staff when they are not working in close proximity to members of the public.
  • At 02 signs are displayed on the products asking customers to be mindful of how often they touch product displays as it may increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. Areas of high traffic such as display phones, tables and door handles are sanitised every hour on busy days and every two hour on quieter days to protect both staff and customers
  • Adidas has provided an online booking system where customers are able to plan their visit and pre-book a time slot should they be concerned about visiting during busy time periods and having to queue to enter.
  • In Selfridge’s cosmetic department, signage is place on product displays asking customer not to touch display items and to request help from members of staff should a customer require assistance.
  • Harrods has chosen to only open a limited number of changing rooms in order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 between staff and customers.
  • MAC staff regularly clean the makeup using 70% alcohol spray, in order to ensure that all their products are clean. This is antibacterial and safe for all cosmetic products. The fast drying quality of the alcohol means that the consistency and colour of the products are not affected.
  • Lush allows a limited number of customers within the store. Unlike other retailers, who have a set number of customers in store, the Lush store at Brent Cross limit capacity to one group

Download the full report here


We want to hear from you!

Tell us about some of the initiatives you’ve implemented to help keep your customers safe.

Tell us about your COVID initiatives




Additional Guidance and Resources

The benefits of a booking service for your shop

Free downloadable COVID posters for your shop

Social Distancing Signs & Screens – discounts for Bira members

Maybe* report: Is Christmas really cancelled?

A guide to preparing for Christmas in post-Covid retail

Why eBay’s Pay As You Grow Scheme is great for independent retailers

A Simple Guide to Buy Now Pay Later for Retailers

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