Home Business News Booking a trip to the shops is taking off as retailers use appointments

Booking a trip to the shops is taking off as retailers use appointments

by Peter Smyth Tech Journalist
25th Jun 20 6:02 am

No queues and no shopping blues. Booking a trip to the shops is taking off as stores use appointments to manage social distancing and contact tracing.

10to8 appointment scheduling software has found that booking a shop visit can solve the COVID social distancing conundrums facing the high street. And it’s being done extensively in the US and UK.

Booking visits in advance lets customers shop safely with no queues, planing staff capacity, and a ready-made list of historic bookings for contact tracing if needed.

10to8 is giving small shops a helping hand by offering their system free until restrictions are over (they’ve penciled in 1st October 2020).

The global appointment scheduling system is used by over 100,000 businesses worldwide, from banks to hairdressers from lawyers to universities. 10to8 is using its insights from around the world to help businesses cope with COVID.

The high street is under immense pressure. Whilst many shops have reopened, consumers are still nervous about going out. In the US, small shops have embraced pre-booked appointments to reassure customers of both safety and the low risks of a queue and the UK has caught on fast too.

10to8 has seen from its data that as lockdown started, many retail bookings moved online, and in-store bookings (like dress fittings, personal shopping etc.) all but disappeared. In the UK, bookings stopped altogether but now shops are seeing a huge demand for booked appointments for store visits.

To help, today, 10to8 is making its booking system available for free until the 1st October 2020 to small independent shops and stores.

The value in booking shop visits; Why are stores doing it?

Scheduling appointments has worked for sectors with limited capacity for years: Think restaurants, hair salons, or your mortgage appointment.

It turns out that booking retail appointments is a great solution to manage social distancing and it comes with a host of other advantages that 10to8’s customers have been benefiting from, happy, reassured, and safe customers & staff.

By booking slots the space in a shop can be planned in advance to match socially distanced capacity

There are no queues which allows customers to book online, in advance, means that they can arrive at an allocated slot knowing the store is open and ready for them.

Contact tracing & tracking: If a customer or staff member should get sick it is easier to track who they might have been in touch with if you have a log of who has visited your store.

This therefore enables business to pick the precise staff level for the demand they have on that day.

Setting hours and availability around the customer, shops are now planning for a mix of walk-ins and pre-booked appointments, just like restaurants. Some even have lower capacity times to accommodate higher risk customers such as the elderly.

Bu understanding customer behaviour’s pre-scheduled appointments can give retailers valuable insights. 10to8 is helping retailers reopen safely by providing a bespoke package for free.

Matthew Cleevely, Founder of 10to8 said, “This is a great opportunity for us to help small shops and stores get back on their feet and to help consumers shop with confidence.”

To support retailers, 10to8 is offering a Free Retailer Package whilst restrictions for coronavirus are in place. Shops were already under pressure before coronavirus arrived and 10to8 is keen to do what it can to help these businesses recover. 10to8 is now free for retail businesses with fewer than 10 employees until at least the 1 October 2020.

“The use of bookings on the high street and elsewhere is amazing. Our customers are truly innovative and it’s great to share those innovations with everyone. We’re even seeing museums and art galleries taking bookings to help manage their visitors, ” added Richard Hills, MD 10to8.

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