A second national coronavirus lockdown announced by the UK government, is now underway, which means that all independent shoe shops in England will once again have to close their doors until 2nd December.
Small businesses, by their nature, are very often great innovators and many of our family businesses and independent footwear retailers have used the time since the last lockdown devising ways to work within restrictions and still offer the best service possible for their loyal local customers.
Many of our stockists have told us of the fantastic support they have received from the local community when they reopened in June after the first lockdown and they now want to do everything they can to offer them a great choice of quality, stylish footwear even though they are not permitted to open their shops to customers.
We are keen to showcase some of these fantastic ideas from Josef Seibel’s stockists and to celebrate and support our wonderful independent footwear retailers as they continue to meet the challenges caused by the pandemic.
This lockdown differs in that businesses are able to offer a Click and Collect service where people order online and collect locally, which is an opportunity that many footwear retailers have seized, such as John Ives in Woodbridge and Buckles and Bows in Lincolnshire, who will also deliver gifts locally.
A simple, but effective idea being used by some retailers including Jacqueline’s in Norfolk and Strolling4Shoes in Cumbria, is to create a ‘vending machine’ style window, with displays of numbered footwear to make it easier for customers to order the product they wish to purchase. These are then either delivered locally or prepared for Click and Collect.
Shoe businesses that have professional foot care practitioners as part of their service, such as Gibbs Shoes in Cambridgeshire can continue to offer appointments as they fall under healthcare.
Other retailers are using this time to invest in the business, either by refreshing or refurbishing their stores, or by building their online offering with new websites, or development of social media strategies.
And it seems that many customers are wholeheartedly appreciating the efforts that the retailers are going to and supporting shop local initiatives.
A loyal customer of Anthony Goldthorpe Fine Shoes in Hull commented on their Facebook page “You guys are so much more than a shoe shop. You are about your customers and the local community. I imagine a lot of your customers are now old friends. I’m so sorry that small businesses like yours have to close again. I hope you all stay safe and well and I look forward to popping in again soon to treat myself to some lovely new boots.”
Josef Seibel wishes our independent stockists the very best and congratulates them on their outstanding levels of customer service which go the extra mile and more during this challenging time.