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Top used Bira services in 2020

As we start November, it seems safe to say that 2020 has not been a very usual year. Many challenges have been thrown our way, both from a personal perspective and from a retail industry perspective.

The independent retail industry has been hit hard with unforeseeable closures and challenging social distancing demands. The ability to adapt has always been a strength of the independent sector but in some cases it has not been enough.

Amongst the challenges, we have been able to offer more independent retail business support than ever. We’ve not only been able to offer free membership for the three most crucial months during the early stages of the pandemic but we were proud to have our service partners come together to join us in offering ‘above-and-beyond’ support for businesses. This meant we’ve been able to offer further discounts and offers on various services, delivering independent retailers with much-needed savings at a crucial time.

So, with everything that’s been thrown your way this year, which services have been the most useful for members in helping them get through the business challenges?

Here, we breakdown services our members have said have been essential to adapting their retail business and saving them money in 2020.  Whether you’re a fashion store, hardware shop, cookshop, cafe or in any other sector of retail, these services have been shown to be vital to independent business owners.


Unlimited legal support when it’s needed most

This one might seem obvious. Unlimited legal advice that’s not costing the business anything and with indemnity cover of up to £50,000 if the advice is followed should you need it.

With changes to employment contracts, staff hours, furlough, sick pay and unfortunate redundancies to name a few, there’s been no shortage of employment-related challenges. Members have found it more invaluable than ever to have advice from lawyers at their disposal on email or the end of the phone.

Legal support


Set up to sell online, fast

The pressure to adapt has been most substantial in the ecommerce space. With many shops having to close their doors at some points during the pandemic, the need for an online offering to compliment a brick and mortar business was clearer than ever.

EKM stepped up to offer members an extended trial period to give the opportunity to see if selling online was right for their business. Members have access to a 28-day period of no fees but all the support from EKM specialists to get them up and running – making it a suitable option for all levels of technical understanding.



Offer more ways to pay

A new addition to the benefits, the option of buying now and paying later, has been an attractive one to consumers for the last couple of years and even more so in the last few months. This in-demand service offers a valuable reduction in the commission rate you’ll pay Clearpay.

At the moment, it’s only available for online purchases but an in-store offering is in the pipeline. Watch this space.

Buy now, pay later


Specialist terms and offers when buying product

Particularly beneficial for hardware, DIY, cookshop, housewares and gift retailers, the buying service has provided security and reliability with suppliers throughout the year. Something that many retail businesses had trouble with and some still are. Our relationships with suppliers and retailers meant we could offer a buffer to some of the product sourcing issue while still continuing with what we do best – sharing product offers, sourcing in-demand products (which included PPE) and introducing new suppliers.

With 30 days end of month credit and other special terms that translate to valuable business savings, this will remain one of the top benefits or members.

Buying Group


Reduce outgoings for utilities

When the pandemic first hit all those months ago, the first response we saw was retail business owners reviewing bank statements looking for ways to immediately cut their outgoings. This first response could then help buffer some of the loss of sudden loss of income. An easy place to start was with utilities and telecoms.

Within membership, retailers have access to a simple rates review service from Utility Options which has saved retailers £1,030 on average when they’ve switched!



How can we help further?

If you haven’t already started benefitting from the above, you’ll find links to more information on each service we’ve covered below, plus much more here.


Not yet a Bira member? Join here for just £149






Additional Guidance and Resources

Free downloadable COVID posters for your shop

A Guide to Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales for independent retailers

Coronavirus: Pensions Questions and Answers for Employers

Retail’s Response to COVID-19

The benefits of a booking service for your shop

Social Distancing Signs & Screens – discounts for Bira members