The Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), a group of trade organisations representing different independent retail sectors across the UK, has launched ‘We are open’, an online map and directory of independent shops that are still open and operating responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Government’s guidance some high street retailers have been able to remain physically open as a ‘notable exception’ whilst others will still be trading in other formats to serve their communities. This comes at a time when predictions have been made that up to a third of independent retailers may struggle to reopen post-lockdown after facing delays in accessing emergency government loans.
With many high street shops relying on physical footfall, it has become difficult for many small retailers to get the word out that they are still open and operating in some way. The new ‘We are open’ map provides a much-needed platform for independent retailers to communicate to their customers and the wider general public that need their products and services that they remain open for business.
To keep customers fully informed, the directory allows retailers to clarify the extent of opening whether it be fully open, by appointment only or as an online/delivery only basis. The directory is open for all independent retailers, whether product-based shops or service-based shops like hairdressers, barbers or beauty salons.
In addition, shop owners can also include offers available specifically for key workers, helping them to communicate that their shop is keen to help those working so hard to help us.
Consumers can simply enter their postcode to see the confirmed open independent retailers in their area. They can also search by sector, business type or by retail-specific filter options to refine their search.
Mark Walmsley, chairman of the Independent Retailers Confederation said:
“From the feedback the IRC received from independent retailers across multiple sectors, as well as from the general public through our consumer-facing site Indie Retail, it became apparent that a platform such as ‘We are open’ was essential.
“The public still needs the products, services and knowledge that independent retailers provide and the ‘We Are Open’ directory helps them to quickly locate those shops that are open for business. This directory will help bridge the gap between customers looking for open shops in a certain location, from a specific sector or selling a particular brand, and the retailers that remain open in some way to serve the public.”