Covid-19: Online map launched to help small retailers connect with customers

The Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) has launched an online map and directory to help keep consumers aware of the independent shops and small businesses that remain open for business during Covid-19 in the UK. The initiative also enables those small high street retailers to better clarify the type of service they are currently able to provide to customers.

In line with UK government guidance, some small high street retailers have been allowed to keep their physical stores open as a ‘notable exception’, whilst others have started offering online delivery services for the first time to enable them to continue trading during the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, for many of these independent and small retailers, it has been difficult to effectively communicate this information to the wider public. The IRC’s new online map, called ‘We are open', allows consumers to locate retailers that remain open for business. The directory can be used by retailers to give customers details of their service during Covid-19, such as whether they are open fully, by appointment only or as an online/delivery only basis.

To find the confirmed open independent retailers in their area, consumers can simply go the site weareopen.uk and enter their postcode. They are also able to filter their search by sector, business type or by retail-specific filter options.

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."

Retailers can register their opening status by visiting: weareopen.uk/register.

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