As we slowly start to move out of lockdown and see outdoor markets and car showrooms beginning to re-open this week, closely followed by larger stores on June 15th, we question how the buying experience will change post-lockdown.
Will people flood back to the high street? Will buying habits have changed?
These must be the questions being asked by all retailers right now – irrespective of the size of their businesses. Supporting the local economy is now more important than ever as businesses attempt to re-build.
The retail industry is hard at work ensuring the shopping experience is safe, but consideration also needs to be made for the role that the power of marketing can take in encouraging people to return to the high street.
With garden centres, supermarkets and DIY stores paving the way for queuing and one-way systems, the high street is sure to follow suit. But what else will change with the way we shop?
Jane Woodhead, Director of Consumer PR, shared her insight with 5 ways the retail landscape will change post-lockdown:
Already commonplace in shopping destinations like Milan, we are likely to see both shopping centres and individual stores taking the temperatures of customers upon entering. While we are coming out of lockdown it is still of paramount importance to maintain strict health and safety measures and do everything possible to prevent a second outbreak.
We will see additional hand sanitiser stations – which have to be welcomed – both at shopping centres and in individual stores.
The handling of items is also likely to be restricted with measures in place once an item has been touched but not purchased to be quarantined for 72 hours before being allowed back on the shop floor.
Any clothes tried on (where this is allowed) and not purchased will also be subject to the 72 hours in quarantine before being placed back on the rail for a new shopper to try. This same protocol will apply for any online orders returned to store too.
We’ve seen perspex screens put in place in supermarkets and it’s very likely the high street will continue that trend to protect their staff and customers. It’s likely stores will also only accept card payments for the foreseeable future too to further help reduce direct contact.
It’s fair to assume that all store staff will be masked as a mandatory precaution for both their customers and their workers – all important measures to protect everyone and keep everyone safe.
HOW WILL THESE CHANGES IMPACT THE EXPERIENCE OF SHOPPING?
Navigating this initial re-opening might be a daunting experience for some. Overcoming fear could be a hurdle to converting potential visitors into confirmed footfall. Physical stores will transform from experiential, social-interactive gathering centres to places of commerce and cleanliness, something we had increasingly been moving away from. As such, sharing cleanliness and personal safety measures is a must.
Liverpool ONE has adopted a new slogan, “Be Patient. Be Kind. Be Responsible”. While shopping centres will be glad to open their doors to consumers again from June 15th, it’s important this doesn’t appear too “celebratory”. The coronavirus has had huge impact on the economy and day to day lives of the UK population and so empathy is key. Understand your audience and you’re halfway there.
Pre-lockdown, clothing giants H&M, known for their ethos in ethical fashion – launched a trial rental programme in a flagship store in Stockholm. With extra cash in our back pockets from a lack of socialising and from that, a lack of spending on self-care, attitudes could shift towards a desire to buy essentials and then rent showstoppers for special events.
But there will surely also be that desire to treat ourselves. While large social gatherings may have been cancelled, we have seen a rising trend for brides-to-be to celebrate their original date and for other “adapted celebrations” to take place in the comfort of people’s homes and gardens.
And with a – fingers crossed – great summer of weather expected, we can anticipate beer gardens to fill out, as well as an increase in trips to the park, the beach, visits to friends and staycations. What comes with this, of course, is a potential need for new outfits and self-care items.
With food the new black, and online shopping having been the norm for the past few months, the ability to get out and enjoy the high street experience will be a tantalising one. Consumers can now once again start to learn to enjoy that experience of the high street, the endorphin release as they can see before they buy, and benefit from the advice of personal shoppers.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF RETAIL?
While some people will be nervous about venturing back out, as soon as they overcome their fears and feel that desire to go back to the high street, they will remember the joy shopping brings.
And while we might reset our relationship with retail, who knows what this could transform into? Pre-lockdown we were producing clothing at a rapid rate with almost 70% of that ending up in a landfill. We didn’t value clothes; we didn’t think twice about throwing them away when we became bored of a certain outfit. We’ve seen the impact our actions have had on the environment in the last few months and we have adapted to these unprecedented times – it’s fair to assume our relationship with retail will adapt too.
As always, with a new year comes new trends in the world of retail. From emerging ecommerce channels to new trends to increase footfall into bricks and mortar stores. Consumer PR Director Jane Woodhead gives her thoughts on the top retail trends to keep an eye on in 2020
We are committed to supporting the health and resilience of our clients, our people, and the communities which we are collectively part of. The challenges the coronavirus has imposed on ways of life the world over mean that business is anything but usual. It must, however, still go on. With working from home the new […]