"The sign industry thrives on change" has never been a more accurate statement. Within the UK, we witness change within retail; shops closing, but also new ones appearing. Even with the past year's challenges, existing and new businesses adapt, which means opportunity for everyone in the sign trade. Running a business hoping someone will change their signage on a whim has never been a sustainable business model.
Every business needs a ready supply of potential new customers, and change is the critical factor that drives new business for sign installers. What's also essential for companies operating within the sign trade and display sector, is access to an effective supply chain, delivering quality and working as part of your team.
Supporting the sign industry for over 20 years
iSpi Trade has been supplying a wide range of sign trade supplies for over 20-years, and year-on-year, we continue to grow our product range. 2020 was no different with the addition of:
We have also seen an increase in demand for detail display and screen fixings. Due to customer demand, we created a new web shop section for Protection Screen Fixings and Supports.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most challenging period since the end of the second world war and has touched everyone in the UK. Many people have lost a loved one, lost a business or had challenges around mental health. But through adversity comes strength, as the old saying goes.
The sign trade adapts and innovates
For those who have been lucky enough to make it this far, there have been opportunities to help keep our businesses running. The few places we have been able to go throughout lockdown have had to make changes to ensure staff and customer safety.
Many of our customers have adapted equipment to meet the demands of their clients. Some of the sign trade-related items you see daily are:
- Clear acrylic screens
- Window, door and floor social distancing stickers
- Sanitation stations with printed instructions
- LED windows display giving customers information
- Pavement signs and stands
- Printed clothing
- Queue barrier signage
- Face visors.
The pandemic has even pushed new antimicrobial products into the marketplace, including transparent films, material, and coated acrylics, proving 'with adversity comes innovation'.
COVID safe working environment
Offices, factories and production facilities that have been allowed to remain open have made changes to allow a safe working environment. In a recent case study, we highlighted how Brown Brothers, a food producer, had used the desk clamps we supplied to support clear acrylic screens in their canteen and offices.
These simple but effective adaptations allowed the business to continue to supply supermarkets throughout the pandemic, continuing to be an essential partner to their supply chain. Brown Brothers are just one of the thousands of companies that had to adapt to keep production moving. Throughout this year, you probably have had similar experiences with customers calling on you to help ensure they can keep their business operational.
Do you have an exciting project using iSpi Trade products that we could use in a case study? Get in touch, and we will spotlight your business on our website and social media.
How the pandemic will change the high street
With all hospitality and most of our smaller retailers and independent shops currently closed, many new business owners fall through the government support gaps. So how will our high streets and town centres look as 2021 progresses?
Unfortunately, many businesses will not survive, but people are resilient, and new business opportunities come from adversity, creating new customers.
When Woolworths in 2008 and BHS closed in 2016, many said it was the end of town centre shopping. In 2021 as Debenhams and The Arcadia Group announced closures, the same statement has appeared in the media. But is it true?
The central theme of this article is how businesses adapt and create new opportunities. This mindset will be the case post-COVID-19 as it is with all the challenges which come our way.
An experience you can't get online
Before COVID-19, the high street trend had seen a massive increase in coffee shops, cafés, and beauty boutiques, allowing people to meet and be a part of that physical experience that you can't get from an online retailer. Unfortunately, these are the businesses the pandemic has hit hardest.
Post-COVID, the retail trade press predicts this rise will continue over the next few years.
Cycle shops have seen a considerable boost over the last year, with new repair and sales shops expected to see enormous growth from the predicted increase in e-bike sales. We can expect to see more pop-up retail, markets and artisan retailers on the high street.
Changes in planning law have made it easier to turn retail space into residential property. 2022 is likely to see some large department store property demolished and rebuilt as town centre living apartments, especially in university towns. This change will provide the much-needed extra footfall to allow retailers to thrive, and with all of these developments come opportunities for the sign trade sector.
Being prepared for opportunity is key with your business structure, marketing and, of course, your supply chain. iSpi Trade sincerely wishes you can thrive over the coming years. We look forward to continuing our existing relationships and building new ones, supporting all of you on the next part of the journey.