How the retail industry and consumer behaviors would be like during & after COVID-19. What actions retailers can take to improve retail experience amidst all obstacles. More importantly, how to invest in the long term given the uncertainty of our time.
Trend #1: Digital retail going strong
Digital channels continue to be the source of most retail growth. Due to public health concerns, e-commerce seems like a safer way of shopping for most consumers. Consequently, retailers can expect an increasing demand for delivery services.
However, this does not mean physical retail stores are outdated. Firstly, BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) options can benefit retailers with physical locations and customers who urgently need certain products. Secondly, a physical store is still an essential touchpoint in the sales process and customer experience.
Therefore, retailers need to ensure the integration between physical stores and online channels. NexSigns solutions can help retailers update information across locations, both online and in retail. Mindful of social distancing rules, digital displays can also help shoppers with wayfinding. In the meantime, signage can inform customers of product/space availability.
Trend #2: Growing focus on health, safety, and local products.
The global pandemic has a huge influence on each one of us. And it has most directly heightened public awareness of health and safety.
When it comes to customers and consumers, retailers should make them feel like they are making a good choice for their health. To achieve that, retailers can promote health-oriented products, while making sure the health level of their retail environment.
As to employees, retailers need to re-imagine their human capital. Bigger retailers should recognize how touchless automation can benefit their stores and warehouses. At the same time, incorporating sanitation station improve general personal hygiene in the work area.
Kuusoft’s Digital Hand Sanitizer Kiosk is made for public space and essential workplaces. Integrating a motion-sensor hand sanitizer dispenser with the powerful NexSigns digital signage software, retailers can achieve multiple objectives:
- Decrease the likelihood of virus spread and improve employees’ hygiene;
- Effectively communicate with employees in the workplace at different locations through digital signs;
- Update information and important announcements from the head office with just a few clicks.
Trend #3: A shock to retailer brand loyalty.
In the last five years, the retail market sees an increase in consumers’ brand loyalty. Most consumers demonstrated they prefer one brand to another. However, due to the scarcity of certain products during and after COVID-19, consumers would trade up and down, thus spurring trials in new brands.
Because of the shock to brand loyalty, retail businesses face an opportunity of redemption. How brands advertise themselves to the market and connect with general consumers can shift a change to consumer spending choices.
This is especially crucial to supermarkets and grocery stores, as consumer behaviors are more conditioned by physical distance. People are more likely to choose a near-by grocer. How can supermarkets help people navigate in-store during the pandemic?
NexSigns solutions connect and deliver information throughout a store and across multiple locations, helping grocers and retailers communicate with customers.
Trend #4: Flexibility of labor and new ways of utilizing human capital.
Human capital capacity in retail industries calls for new models of collaborations between retailers. Small, cross-functional teams can respond to uncertainties much more effectively. And a flexible, fluid labor pool can meet demand across priority activities. A well-connected information hub guarantees real-time updates on data pool, allocating human resources as needed. NexSigns solution has the power to process multiple data sources and deliver on one screen. In the corporate office, digital signage can assist data analysis and decision making.
Moreover, by separating front-of-house (FOH) staff and back warehouse staff, retailers can minimize the risk of contamination. This also calls for a better allocation of protective gear to FOH staff. How do front and back staff communicate efficiently? An effective display system in the back office can help the communication between these two workspaces.
Trend #5: A shift to value for money.
In any economic downfall, a post-crisis downturn will lead consumers to demand value for money across retail sales sectors. This phenomenon can back up the shock to brand loyalty. This shift to value for money is already happening in essential categories.
For high-end luxury, apparel, and fashion retailers, their brands may suffer during this period of time. Partnership with smaller players in the field, as well as different platforms, can open up new markets and customer services for high-end brands. With that said, marketplace consolidation may seem inevitable for certain retailers.
How can retailers in essential categories cope with this shift to value for money? Explore opportunities to strike new deals with healthier players regarding certain industries and supply chains. Our retail industry is in the process of washing cards, and retailers can make moves that benefit them in certain ways.
We expect changes in the retail space this year, and these changes will be closely tied to the progress and impact of COVID-19. Amidst the uncertainties coming with the global pandemic, retailers can still make decisions that would ameliorate customer satisfaction and workplace well-being.