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Going out is the new staying in

Written by James Thomas on Tuesday, 11 August 2020. Posted in Insight

During lockdown, online ordering skyrocketed. The high street, which was struggling before the Pandemic, plus any other business which welcomes people through its doors, now needs to work harder than ever before to re-engage with its customer base.

Going out is the new staying in

During lockdown, online ordering skyrocketed. The high street, which was struggling before the Pandemic, plus any other business which welcomes people through its doors, now needs to work harder than ever before to re-engage with its customer base. But we all need to help by playing our part in getting the economy on track. It’s time to re-educate customers that going out is the new staying in!

Consumer spending is the key to kick-starting the economy.  When people visit a region, they park, shop, eat, drink, with each action putting money back into the system. One business promoting special offers to drive trade will help those nearby as they bring people to the door.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, recently presented his “Summer Economic Update” where he discussed the plans for the Second phase in the Government’s economic response to the crisis. With an expected £188.7 billion pounds expected to be injected into the economy, the No.1 focus is to encourage consumer spending in retail and leisure businesses. It’s time to capitalise on this support.

For those who’ve spent the ‘downtime’ updating marketing materials, developing promotional strategies and forging partnerships to help advertise your products or services, now’s the time to put those plans into action.  It’s imperative you capture your audience in these first few months of trading now that we have the green light to trade (almost) normally.  If you’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare, you will be a step ahead of the curve and can now target those starting to spend a little of the money they have saved during lockdown.

To be aware of all the support the Government has offered is important, as this can help you devise promotional campaigns.  For example: there is the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme for food outlets.  This provides a discount to consumers of up to 50% of eat-in meals (up to a total spend of £10 per person), this will be at participating establishments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August.

The VAT rate cut for the Hospitality and Tourism industry is also worth shouting about! The VAT reduction to 5% includes eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs (excluding alcohol) and also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.  It came into effect on 15 July and the VAT rate change will be in place temporarily for the next 6 months until 12 January 2021.   If these updates are relevant to your business or franchise, let your customers know!

Aside from leisure and hospitality, there are also some planned green home improvement breaks on the horizon which could stimulate the construction sector. Under the Green Homes Grant, the government will pay at least two-thirds of the cost of home improvements that save energy. Set to launch in September, the scheme will be managed with online applications for recommended energy efficiency measures, through accredited local suppliers.

It may seem that on the surface these changes won’t affect your business, especially if you’re not in the affected sectors. I would ask the question of how you can piggyback on this success, strike up partnerships with local restaurants by creating offers for their customers, invest in promotional materials to capture the traffic from additional footfall on the high street? These are all things your competitors will be doing, make sure you’re not left behind!

As accountants and business advisors, at d&t we keep our finger on the pulse and let our partners know about all the updates and changes as they happen, so as a franchise you can act quickly. For further information or to find out about the many ways we work with our business partners to help them add value to their bottom line and grow their franchises, please see: https://www.team-dt.com/ 

About the Author

James Thomas

James Thomas

Having worked within the franchise industry as an operations coordinator in the past, Thomas has developed experience of facilitating the relationship between franchisor and franchise network, which led him to become franchise relationship manager at d&t chartered accountants

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