Specifier Review
How can retailers attract customers back to their physical stores while maintaining safety as the Covid-19 pandemic prevails?

Creating a great in and ‘out’ store experience

How can retailers attract customers back to their physical stores while maintaining safety as the Covid-19 pandemic prevails?

Consumers’ shopping behaviour may have understandably changed during 2020 to shift online but talk of the end of the high street is massively overblown. The lengthy queues that formed outside stores on the first day that lockdown restrictions were eased in England were a clear demonstration that many consumers still want to go to the high street to browse, physically see what they’re going to buy and socialise with friends.

Research from Australia also found that only 2% of consumers said they would ‘never’ resume typical retail habits – visiting shops – which suggests the high street will be strong for many years to come.

But… retailers also need to manage risks and ensure that consumer appetite can be satisfied without exposing shoppers to avoidable dangers. Pre-pandemic retail patterns, shopping centres and retail space designs need to be flexible so they can adapt to Covid-19 and other crises in future, and that involves making greater use of outdoor spaces.

The hospitality sector is already leading the way here as Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality told The Guardian recently. She said, “There’s been quite a lot of investment in shelters, marquees, patio heaters and so on to make outdoors eating and drinking more appealing. Previously, our mentality has been that this is not something you do in winter, so it will be interesting to see if that changes.”

There is enormous opportunity for retailers as many premises have space available outdoors. Perhaps it is currently redundant or a ‘dumping ground’ serving no productive purpose. Now is the time to get creative and consider how this space could be transformed to be useful as and when you need it, particularly when you have on-demand, safe access to power, gas, data and other services.

Just think of the potential. Sheltered waiting areas complete with lighting and heating, hospitality zones where hot drinks and food can be served, additional sales space with full lighting, point of sale displays and power for till points – the possibilities are endless. The notorious unpredictable British weather needn’t prevent us making use of these spaces.

Achieving the transformation is simple by integrating Pop Up Power Supplies® retractable, pop up service units, in-ground service units or power bollards into your outdoor space. Once installed they are useable when you need them, hidden when you don’t. All units can be specified to suit your requirements and avoid the need to hire generators or run lengthy trailing cables from other parts of your premises, which not only looks unattractive, but presents trip hazards for customers and staff.

Looking to the future, global architectural practice Hassell believes that, as indoor air quality continues to be a greater focus to help address concerns about transmission of viruses via air circulation, ‘a greater mix of indoor and outdoor settings is crucial when planning a retail complex, like including multi-purpose balconies along facades for natural ventilation’. Planning your services infrastructure to accommodate the increased demand for outdoor facilities is therefore crucial.

To discuss the possibilities for your retail premises further, please visit www.popuppower.co.uk or call 0208 227 0208.


Pop Up Power Supplies offer a wide range of Outdoor Pop up plug sockets to suit most venues, dependent on usage and type of supply. The POP UP units are manufactured in stainless steel AISI304 and have an epoxy-polyester powder finish. Tops are available in stainless steel or cast iron.

The adaptability of their Pop up power sockets makes them suitable for all outdoor environments. The “Pop Up” feature of the units improves the quality and safety of the surrounding area. Pop Up Power Supplies’ Power Units provide an outdoor power supply to many projects throughout the UK, including Wembley Arena Square, Covent Garden, Edinburgh Castle, The University of Exeter and many more locations. The pop up electrical sockets provide safe, silent, secure power to outdoor places.