When lockdown hit on 23rd March 2020, no one could fully appreciate the impact lockdown would have on all our lives. From schools closing, offices being told to work from home, business’ furloughing swaths of employees and much of all retail, leisure and travel closing, the landscape that we once knew changed irrevocably. How will Covid-19 impact on retail?
As we enter the 8th week it is hard to comprehend what our lives, both personal and business will look like after lockdown. The Covid-19 pandemic has enforced a new way of life. Socially distancing from friends and family, shopping online, spending more time with our families within our homes and for those not working, keeping busy with DIY or exercise!
Covid-19 Impact on Retail
As lockdown lifts and the economy starts to recover after the pandemic, how will consumer habits and motivations be affected? What consumer behaviour will return to normal and how many will stick to newly formed habits of behaviour from this time?
Consumer facing companies need to anticipate what consumer change will emerge. They need to react and adapt to provide products and services in the way customers want. This is a necessity ensuring brands stay relevant after lockdown. So, with this in mind, how will retailers and specifically ‘The High Street’, need to adapt in the post pandemic landscape?
A recent survey by Qudini identified 3 key findings:
Customers are avoiding or heavily reducing visits to every type of store to some extent. Businesses will need to counteract this by building customer confidence. Prioritising social distancing with advanced customer management processes.
Click and Collect
Customers are more likely to use click and collect. On average 32% are more likely to use click and collect meaning retailers will need to offer fast and safe click and collect services or fulfilment hubs. Or lose customers to those that can.
Virtual Customer Services
Customers will want virtual services by phone and video to reduce time in store. Developing online services to build relationships with customers will improve sales performance.
Retailers need to be proactive to understand the full impact of the pandemic on their customers to align for the future. Those that don’t try and evolve might find themselves becoming extinct. It’s a new consumer landscape.
No one can be sure of what the retail landscape will look like in 6 months or 12. One thing is clear the Covid-19 impact on Retail will be far reaching!
Market research – Conduct research to understand if and how your customers have changed.
Consumer profiling – Identify any changes in customer profiles.
Sales territory planning – Understand which outlets or products to prioritise in the next 12 months.