Retail In The New Normal-Understanding What Shoppers Expect
Even as the lockdowns and lifted and retail establishments are opening up in the second phase of the pandemic, things are far from normal. In fact, there is a new normal for businesses across all domains, including retail. The overhaul is rigorous and every single aspect of retail is disrupted. Still, being adaptable and resilient is the only way businesses can survive and move ahead in the pandemic world. Right now, they need to focus on customer expectations because keeping pace with them is the only way to stay afloat and grow. Here are some practical measures that retailers can implement to match shopper expectations and survive through the crisis.
Nothing matters more than personal safety right now and businesses that go the extra mile for protecting people will win the race. A full-coverage hygiene and safety plan for employees and customers is the first thing you need to have in place, as you consider reopening your store. The plan should implement diverse measures, from ensuring social distancing with floor marking to having hand sanitizer stations at key touchpoints and minimizing contact. Shoppers booking appointments make sense to avoid crowding in the store, while extra attention to surface cleaning and hygiene is equally important in the new normal. Further, employees need to be trained on getting these guidelines implemented stringently on a daily basis.
When the pandemic first struck, businesses realized that the only way to survive is by embracing digital transformation. The same mindset is going to be the core of retail growth in the post-pandemic era as well. You need to invest in innovative digital initiatives that cover every aspect of customer journeys. Building a strong online presence is the key to gaining on the lost foot traffic. For example, listing your store on boca mall is a great idea because that’s where potential shoppers would search to find the best local stores nearby. Similarly, initiatives like virtual try rooms, geolocation sensors, Click & Collect and contactless payments can make your store future-ready. Online orders, curbside pickups, and home deliveries are some other digital measures to keep your business on track.
Since the new-age customers will expect more personalized yet socially distant interactions, retail businesses will need to realign staffing in the new normal. The future workforces will need a new range of skills to meet the pivoted demands of the customers and the market. You will need to retrain the store associates to make them capable of working in the digitally-driven landscape. Further, cultivating soft skills like Emotional Intelligence will be important so that they can understand the ever-evolving expectations of the customers. The shifts will be fewer and hours shorter in the future, so employees will have to make up with better performance and higher productivity.
Clearly, retail businesses are never going to be the same, and neither can you expect the foot traffic to be normal in the near future. The only way to stay on the growth track is by staying one step ahead of customer expectations and adapting to them with agility.