The majority of shoppers will only return to town centres after the Covid-19 lockdown if they feel they are safe and there is social distancing in place, such as demarcation.
There have been fears that the future viability of town centres is at stake as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Surveys undertaken during recent lockdowns have produced a mixed picture for retailers.
But one thing is clear, social distancing and clear demarcation are critical factors in attracting people back to buy goods and spend their money in UK town centres.
Robert Hawgood, Managing Director of Studmarc, a leading supplier of demarcation, architectural and tactile studs, said it was clear that shoppers wanted to return to high street shopping, but only if they felt safe.
43% will only shop with social distancing in place
In one survey, undertaken by online company Maybe, 87% of respondents in the Midlands said they would return to the town centre to shop. 45% said they would shop less and 10% said they would shop more.
However, 43% said they would only want to shop with social distancing in place, while 32% said they wanted numbers limited in shops.
“It’s clear for town centre retailers, councils and property managers that shoppers do want to return to the high street,” said Mr Hawgood.
“Demarcation is clearly needed, not just to physically ensure distancing, but to provide peace of mind. Our studs are being used more and more in commercial settings to designate areas and directions for pedestrians. One reason is that businesses are having to move from temporary demarcation into more permanent solutions.
“We’ve now been through several lockdowns and the government has warned of further spikes in Covid-19 towards the autumn. So, there’s a need to have precautions in place to protect people and to also reassure them.”
Clear demarcation solutions needed to attract town centre shoppers
In another survey in South Wales, undertaken to help Bridgend County Borough Council, 60 per cent of people said they were more likely to shop locally and support businesses than before lockdown.
“We’re seeing a picture a clear message. Shoppers want to return to their town centres as they feel more comfortable being local and want to support local businesses.
“However, necessary precautions for social distancing must be in place for safety and reassurance.”
Studmarc, which works closely with its sister company Landmark Street Furniture, provides studs used in a variety of built environments, from commercial and retail to residential and industrial.
These can be incorporated into new and existing built environments within commercial, residential and industrial situations.
- • Demarcation
- • Anti-skateboarding
- • Tactile
- • Road
“The demarcation and tactile studs are perfect for demarcation. Whether it’s marking out boundaries for pedestrians or vehicles, cycle paths or specific areas for outdoor eating. They can be retrofitted into existing environments, replacing stickers or paint that we have seen used widely during the pandemic,” said Mr Hawgood.
“The road studs are perfect for designating vehicle or cycling areas and routes. This is particularly useful with many town centres reducing traffic use or setting up more cycle lanes on roads.”
Anti-skateboarding studs are also being used to prevent property, such as buildings and street furniture from being damaged by skateboarders.