Expressed by several business and independent employers’ federations, one idea is gaining ground: that of a meeting in the store between the consumer and the seller.
The goal is twofold.
For the customer: collect an opinion and see, try the merchandise. For professionals: quickly reopen their non-essential business.
All these signs? “Yes, all”, claim the Union of middle classes (UCM) and the neutral union for independents (SNI).
“Non, a part”, nuance Comeos, the employers’ federation of commerce and services: “let’s see which sectors, but it is not easy, for example, to buy a kitchen from a distance”, indicates Dominique Michel, the managing director.
These federations share one observation: the practice of “click an collect”, currently accepted in non-essential stores, only provides about twenty percent of turnover.
A FORMULA OF THE FUTURE
The gradual return of customers to this type of store would therefore go through an intermediate formula, which is being studied by experts and governments for a possible rather rapid application: a meeting in store, for a fixed period.
No jostling inside or outside, individual service provided.
On their own initiative, traders developed it after the deconfinement and before the new temporary closure of their shop, such as this framer in Wavre or this gallery owner in the center of Brussels:
“This system of meetings, we adopted it without losing our customers. We know that if she comes, she is interested. She knows that our service will be better. It is up to us to keep our brand alive on social networks in particular. “
Would it be advantageous to generalize to the customers of all these independent stores the obligation to announce oneself and to limit one’s presence in time?
The very nature of many items and products sold here and there would chill such a project that would doom the loafer. The crush in front of a window would be prohibited!
But in the future, traders could alternate days, like a doctor, between consultations and appointments.
ENTER TO PAY ONLY
Today, small to medium stores of non-essential items are opening their doors to customers.
To pay by card, on the machine screwed to the counter, the goods having been delivered outside? It’s authorized.
What is not, despite all the health precautions, is the usual service in the store, which is however practiced, especially for toys, a few days before Saint-Nicolas.
In restaurants and bars, for example, researchers are arguing more to reduce the number of seats and therefore the occupancy rate and to avoid peak hours.
“They therefore provide avenues for achieving reductions in occupancy compared to maximum capacity of around 80%. So, having an occupation spread over the day, restaurants accepting 20% maximum occupancy by spreading out to the maximum, would have really very powerful effects of reducing contagiousness.“, summarizes Benoît Mulkens, virologist and professor at UNamur.