Non-essential stores may receive customers by appointment starting Wednesday.

As part of the relaxation of the lockdown, clothing stores, department store chains and furniture stores, for example, may reopen on that basis.

How exactly does shopping by appointment work?

And who do and who do not participate?

Appointment shopping is different from click & collect, which has served as a safety net for non-essential stores since the lockdown came into effect.

At click & collect you can order a specific product online or by telephone and pick it up at an agreed time at a pick-up counter outside the store.

Now you can really go back into the store and you do not have to think in advance what exactly you need;

a little look around is also allowed.

But that does not mean that it will immediately be a paradise for hardcore shoppers from Wednesday, because shopping by appointment is bound by strict rules.

These are the conditions:

You have to make an appointment with the store online or by telephone and you will then be given a time slot in which you can visit.

That lock is in principle for ten minutes, but the appointment can be extended in consultation with the shopkeeper, it says on the website of the national government.

A hard rule is that per floor of the store a maximum of two customers (who do not belong together) are allowed in at the same time.

And a friendly request is to pay contactless as much as possible.

Which stores are participating and which stores are not participating?

All in all, it is not really for fun.

Not all chains are equally enthusiastic about shopping by appointment, partly because it is hardly profitable in large buildings.

De Bijenkorf and IKEA, for example, are failing to reopen the doors in this way.

Other chains see it as bread.

"It pays off, but it doesn't pay the bills," a Decathlon spokesperson told last week.

The sports chain finds shopping by appointment primarily of added value because it offers the opportunity to advise customers and because they may buy something other than what they actually came to the store for.

HEMA and perfumery chain ICI Paris, among others, are also on this line.

Furthermore, smaller (one-man) businesses are opening their doors en masse.

For them, every euro of extra turnover is included.

Will this save the day for ailing chains?

It remains to be seen whether the customer is also waiting for it, but at discount retail chain Action it is already taking a storm.

You could already reserve a time for Wednesday or Thursday at Action on Tuesday and after an hour many stores were almost fully booked.

Action will now open every day at midnight to make appointments for a new day.