Retail in The Era of COVID-19
Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator
A recent study revealed that most women don’t feel safe performing regular in-store shopping habits anymore. Overall, 78% are aginst testing beauty products, 65% are afraid to try on clothes in a dressing room and 66% prefer to not be in close contact with a sales associate. So what now? Retail stores are going to have to get creative, and although some consumers will be running to the malls the second doors open, many will still be wary due to the fear of contracting COVID-19. People have a valid reason to be afraid, and there is always a risk of a second wave after a reopening. However, business owners will need to be a step ahead and invest strategically in their marketing efforts online as well as in-store. We always said that options are good to have, and you shouldn’t invest everything into just one component of your business. In case things don’t go as planned, at least you have options to turn to.
The past three months have been a learning curve for many brick-and-mortar stores, and if they had digital options to turn to when the pandemic broke out, they may have been in a better position now financially. Now that stores will start to open in the upcoming weeks, those who have established digital channels will have more options to offer their shoppers. Good customer service is about offering the consumer options for how they want to engage with your brand. Doing this allows your brand to connect with a larger audience while staying in context. It also provides the opportunity for bridging the gap between physical and virtual experiences. Although some customers will head back to physical stores, many will rely more on digital solutions because of the safety and convenience it offers.
Physical stores aren’t disappearing any time soon, and it’s really just about offering choice to the consumer and a personalized shopping experience. Basic safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing masks will take priority. However, retailers will have to do more than just that and strategize new ways to limit touch engagements such as virtual appointments and contactless payments. Business owners are going to have to strategize and pick and choose where to invest because although it’s important to keep customers happy, it’s not worth going out of business. Courtesy options for shoppers such as curbside pickup and free same-day delivery will have to be temporarily placed on the back burner for some. Many stores took a hard hit from being forced to close and will need to reallocate their investments. Some will maintain more services while others will have to cut back, it’s just a matter of relevancy and practicality of the service.
Although stores will find innovative ways to lure customers to come visit, the coronavirus has accelerated the shift of experiential retail to online. From in-app purchases to virtual fittings, retail is going more digital. While many business owners are urgently waiting for their doors to open, it shouldn’t be about keeping customers in the store. Instead, it should focus on the customer’s experience because it is the value of the experience that will lead to the sale. Right now, customers are depending on digital outlets for shopping, and business owners will need to find a creative way to bridge the gap and offer new immersive experiences for shoppers. Experiential retail is about winning over their loyalty and that’s through creating more tailored solutions for customers to foster closer relationships. Digital solutions offer many ways for consumers to shop and discover your business, it’s just a matter of using them properly. Retailers who invest in online marketing and new outlets will be a step ahead because consumer behavior is changing through the digitization of commerce.
At MSM DesignZ, we are your digital experts. Having a digital presence should not be an option. We value the importance of strategic and sustainable investments. With over twenty years of experience, not only have we seen eCommerce evolve into what it is today, but also the immense market share available online. Our team will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at https://www.msmdesignz.com/contact/, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!