As part of this month’s dealer panel, AMP spoke with a number of leading mobility retailers.
The aim was to gather industry thoughts on how COVID-19 has impacted business plans and what that means for Q4 and beyond.
This is what People First Mobility boss Karen Sheppard had to say:
How has COVID affected plans for Q4?
KS: COVID has meant some growth plans for our business have had to be delayed this year until next year. We have had to change the way we now work to ensure we are COVID secure in the shop, limiting the amount of customers in the store at any one time.
The day of just browsing has been replaced with people only shopping for what they need. Customers have not wanted home visits but are also still afraid to venture out so this is resulting in people managing with equipment they have already got.
We have tried to offer an appointment only service a couple of evenings a week so that people feel they can shop safely.
What plans have you put in place given how 2020 has turned out?
KS: Opening mid-June has allowed us to trade for a couple of months of the busy season which will possibly be extended until October locally. More people are having staycations but it tends to be the younger generation.
Knowing that turnover will most probably be lower for many businesses this year, I think those who manage not to sink will be able to swim even stronger in the future.
Have certain products or launches been delayed until the spring?
KS: With NAIDEX cancelled and reps working from home, there has been a real lack of knowledge of what is available from suppliers this year, special offers or new products.
Has the re-opening of retail allowed for any sort of seasonal bounce back?
KS: Mobility retail will fight back, however with suppliers now going direct to the end customer and charging far less than their RRP that they have advertised to dealers, telling potential customers that they have dealers in shops but that they are a lot more expensive, means dealers who have been loyal for years will find alternative suppliers.
I think the more well-known brands in the mobility industry may take a back seat by the end of the year and we will see some new up and coming suppliers.
Keep your eyes out for more on this month’s dealer panel in the coming week.