While the retail industry will continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for months to come, signs point to a return to out-of-home spending as the percentage of Americans who have received the COVID-19 vaccine increases. The world of traditional retail is on fire, and brands must learn to adapt to their returning customers’ changing needs in order to survive. This frequently entails providing additional options to accommodate customers’ convenience and comfort levels.
Customers have a renewed desire to shop in-person, especially when retailers deliver an improved experience compared to pre-pandemic days. Touch-free technology, reimagined in-store experiences, and increased convenience are just some of the new retail tactics. Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at how retailers can safely reintroduce shoppers to their stores.
Implement Touch-Free Technology
Throughout the pandemic, a plethora of innovations were born out of the need to minimize contact and prevent the spread of germs. Shoppers have largely embraced the new norm, owing to retailers’ rapid adoption of new technologies. Innovative approaches to meeting shopper needs have elevated the terms “contactless” and “frictionless” to prominence in our lexicon.
Technology, such as contactless payments and delivery, has rapidly gained popularity. Many consumers view contactless mobile payments as a secure method of payment and frequently pay for pickup and delivery orders using their mobile devices. Businesses that have successfully broken the mold and introduced new technology into stores are currently ahead of the game.
Find Ways to Expand the Shopping Experience
The shift to e-commerce is one of the most significant retail trends for 2020. As e-commerce grows in popularity, retailers must develop new strategies for attracting consumers into their stores. The key will be to provide customers with an experience they cannot get while shopping online. The more companies concentrate their efforts on elevating the in-store experience, the better.
In today’s landscape, more people are comfortable shopping online for items they previously swore they would never purchase electronically, altering the offerings of physical stores. Due to the ease with which product information can be accessed online, it is critical that employees greet customers with a greater understanding of products and services than ever before. Retailers can differentiate themselves from popular e-commerce sites by providing a more informative and hands-on shopping experience.
Shopping appointments are also becoming more prevalent. One-on-one shopping enables stores to develop a more intimate understanding of their customers’ needs and thus better serve them, all while the customer is free to shop at their leisure.
Level Up Convenience
While pure-play e-commerce touts “rapid” two-day shipping, brick-and-mortar retail continues to be the quickest way for customers to receive their products and services. Local retailers are uniquely positioned to serve their communities’ residents. The trick is to find ways to make shopping more convenient for consumers, whether that’s through superior customer service or additional shopping options. For instance, some businesses have implemented retail direct-to-ship programs via call centers, allowing customers to purchase products without visiting a store.
Curbside pickup options are also gaining popularity. It provides a seamless shopping experience with minimal wait time and is frequently a faster method of receiving products than standard shipping. Curbside pickup was the only way many stores remained open during the pandemic, and consumers have grown accustomed to and frequently prefer it.
As more people re-enter stores, the retail industry is rapidly adapting to meet new demands. Retailers who adapt and innovate their shopping experience will prosper, while those who delay making critical changes will fall behind.