Dowsing & Reynolds is reopening as a showroom, and is introducing a system that means only two staff and two customers can be there at a time.
Chloe Shakesby

Life After Lockdown: The interiors store transforming into a showroom

As the country emerges from lockdown, it’s a very different landscape for a lot of businesses.

Bdaily spoke to business owners across the country about how they’re changing their ways of working, and what innovations they’re adopting permanently after lockdown.

Interiors fixtures and fittings brand Dowsing & Reynolds, which occupies a two-storey space in Leeds’ Victoria Quarter, has reopened as a showroom instead of a store.

The company is introducing an appointments system, which will allow customers to book a time slot in advance of when they’d like to visit the showroom to explore the products on offer. This means any product a customer is wishing to view can be thoroughly cleaned in advance of their visit.

The showroom will have a maximum of two staff members and two customers in at any one time, to adhere to social distancing.

A member of the senior management team will also be onsite to observe and give support, at least to begin with and likely throughout busier periods.

Staff will be wearing face masks and gloves, and customers will be asked to wear a face mask before entering the showroom. One will be provided to them if they don’t already have one.

To streamline logistics, the company will no longer hold stock onsite.

Instead, it will operate as a showroom and customers will place orders for products to be delivered to their homes for free the next day.

Not only does this minimise the amount of product handling, it means the showroom can operate on a minimal staff basis.

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, who owns the company along with James Dowsing-Reynolds, commented: “We needed to be sure that we had the right measures in place before we reopened, as we’re very conscious of ensuring the showroom is safe for both our customers and employees.

“The main change we’ve made is to move from being a store, to being a showroom.

“This has drastically reduced the amount of product handling and allows us to keep showroom staff numbers to a minimum. Feedback so far has been really encouraging!

“Customers have been more than happy to browse as usual, before placing an order for free next day delivery.

“We have also introduced an appointment system to give customers peace of mind that interactions with other people in the showroom would be kept to a minimum.

“Again this has been working well as it means our team can clean and prepare any products the customer is wishing to see, ahead of their appointment.

“It’s an uncertain time for us all but we’ve really worked hard to reassure our customers that our showroom is a safe and relaxing space to browse products for their home.”

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