The past few months have given us a challenge – normally our role is to drive footfall into Bristol Shopping Quarter and we delight in seeing positive results when we check the data from the Springboard counters.
When non-essential retailers were ordered to close on Monday 23 March that changed and we quickly needed to find new ways of supporting our levy-paying businesses throughout the weeks of lockdown while at the same time encouraging people to stay home as much as possible.
Suddenly we were relieved to see falling footfall as it meant people were following government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.
We created an easy-to-access list on the Bristol Shopping Quarter website of the essential retailers, banks and building societies that remained open, as well as the cafes and restaurants offering takeaway and delivery services, with links to their individual listings where further information, including opening hours, can be found. Website traffic to these listings increased exponentially throughout March, April, May and June.
We used our social media accounts to share the link to this page as well as information from the retailers themselves and we also created trails on the LoyalFree app so visitors were able to easily find the stores they needed.
While non-essential retailers had to remain closed, we used our social media channels and the LoyalFree app to remind shoppers that while they couldn’t visit in person, they were able to shop online.
Bristol Shopping Quarter newsletters
We continued to send out our regular monthly newsletters. In April we shared some of the fantastic content retailers had been posting online including free virtual workouts and some great recipes. In May, we gave a shout-out to key workers including our own retail support ranger, Jack. And in June, we introduced some of the social distancing measures people could expect to see when they were able to do non-essential shopping from the 15th. Open and click rates were excellent.
Preparing to reopen
As more shops prepared to reopen from Monday 15 June, we used social media to share information about amended opening hours and what customers could expect, including welcome back promotions and new services such as one-to-one shopping sessions before or after hours. We asked retailers to send us their trading hours so we could ensure their listings on the Bristol Shopping Quarter website were accurate.
On Friday 19 June, we took over Visit Bristol’s Instagram account to share useful information ahead of the first full weekend of non-essential shopping.
While we have, with heavy hearts, had to postpone our annual Easter trail and cancel plans for an interactive Summer of Sport campaign, we continue to work hard to promote Bristol Shopping Quarter as a safe, welcoming and convenient place to visit, encouraging levy payers to email firstname.lastname@example.org with their news, deals and promotions so we can share them with our digital audience.