As London's top retailers get used to the idea that it will be some time before large numbers of tourist shoppers return, the big names are planning their eventual reopening and also making sure that they keep their top customers engaged before that happens.
Harrods is reportedly planning to offer personal shopping for its top customers prior to opening its doors again with staff at the famous Knightsbridge store taking orders by phone or smartphone message.
That's according to a report in the Mail at the weekend. It said this “remote clienteling” should start on May 18 with the retailer saying it will be built on the “one-on-one relationships that our retail colleagues have with customers”.
The service will be made possible by the fact that only a very small number of the retailer's 5,000 staff would be required to run the service, which means that social distancing won't be a problem. But even on a small scale, it will allow the company to assess whether the service could be rolled out further.
This could be crucial at a time when international air travel will still be at a very low level and even when it ramps up, there will be much more inconvenience for travelers. This could potentially deter many of the high net worth individuals on which Harrods relies on the kind of retail tourism in which they used to indulge.
A spokesman told the newspaper: ”We are exploring technology to scale as required ahead of being able to phase to inviting customers back in store. We are taking this opportunity to explore, to test, and to learn how we as a business adapt to changing circumstances. But every decision we make will be guided by our commitment to safety.”