SIX WAYS COVID-19 MADE RETAILERS THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
COVID-19 brought hardship to the retail space. As lockdowns and unemployment rampaged on, going out to spend money was just not in the picture for the majority of people. Luckily a few advancements along with the drive to reach customers, retail stores were able to bounce back.
Expanding your offering
One thing a lot of retail spaces did was expand the product line that they offered. Stores like Target, which already had a large selection of items, to begin with, reached even further by supplying essential goods in multiple ways, which is something we will touch on later in this post.
Prior to COVID-19, people started to see the power of giving the customer the option to buy products online. Companies looked up to for things like this would be Amazon, Walmart, and Target, which played a role in growth in what we touched on a little bit ago. With people spending more time indoors and not wanting to go out and shop, why not bring the store right to their fingertips. Online shopping will only get more and more popular as time goes on and technology grows around it. The convenience factor will always be there and it gives people the time that would have been spent shopping, to pursue other things on the weekly to-do list.
This can be done in a number of ways. Using clothing retailers as the primary example, have ways to show off your product in more ways than just on a single model. Implementing things like size guides, models in all shapes and sizes, and even ways to mix and match multiple products. Lululemon is the best example here to give as not only did online shopping become easier for their shoppers, but with this also came an all-time high in sales and a huge increase in company stock.
Communication is key
As seen time and time again during the height of the pandemic, being open and communicating with your customers makes things easier for everyone. Use the platforms all around you in things like social media and email flyers to get the word out. People want to know what’s going on, so coming out with plans for your retail space and products gives people the insight they have been looking for.
Hitting on the point above, using things like social media platforms to start a dialogue with your customers. Be engaging, open, and informative when talking to customers, doing so will not only lead to more returning shoppers but by word of mouth, a great lump sum of newer customers. Ensuring you have a loyal customer base is one of the greatest building blocks used to example your retail space.
What about the In-Store Experience
Let’s not forget, even with all the rambling on about all the advancements made through online shopping, what about the people, especially as time goes on and things get closer to what we would call “normal”, that still want to go to an actual store? Let’s hit on a few points that have been updated over the last couple of years. Since consumers have the “get in and out quickly” mentality, retailers have reconfigured their stores to facilitate faster, more streamlined shopping trips. COVID-19 has also accelerated the need for retailers to shift to more experiential showrooms instead of traditional stores. A store that hits on both these points very well would be IKEA.