• Holly Rickard

Are you prepared for the next phase? How to welcome back customers & adapt your in-store experience.

What you need to know about post-pandemic customer sentiment.




A recent study by Ernst & Young outlines five consumer segments that will emerge after the COVID-19 crisis. The two biggest being; get back to normal 31% and cautiously extravagant 25%. The cautiously extravagant group believe that the way they shop and what they buy will permanently be affected. They also shared a preference for buying from brands that have a social cause, are produced domestically and contribute to the economy.

Aside from social distancing measures, and good hygiene, what can you do as a retailer to help make your customers and staff feel safe during this post-pandemic season?

Communicate your policies

Both instore and behind the scenes. Your customers will want to know steps you are taking to maintain a healthy workplace in your warehouses, offices and transport networks as well as how you are keeping them safe in-store.

Have you updated policies around returns and exchanges? Can you offer reverse logistics so people can try items at home and return risk-free?

Let your fans know: spread your message on social channels and update your FAQ page on your website.

Make sure your customer-facing staff are up to date with new hygiene procedures, and how to properly communicate what is happening to customers when necessary.

Australian Made

90% of Australians prefer Australian made products, and right now, the sentiment is strong to support our local economy. Are there items that you can promote as Australian or locally made?

Hands-free ways to assist shoppers during and after COVID-19.


· Provide single-use applicators for testers and avoid customers handling testers themselves.

· If a customer would like to use their shopping bag, ask them to bag the items themselves, or provide a bag free of charge for each new purchase to avoid handling customers bags.

· If you are exploring alternative delivery methods like locker pick up, click and collect or home delivery, also think about your packaging efforts. Is the packaging eco-friendly or recyclable? Are your bags reusable?

Niche Challenges:

Apparel

First Insight Survey – 49% of millennials said they did not feel comfortable trying on clothes after the pandemic, while the same sentiment for baby boomers was much higher at 71%. This poses a real problem for apparel retailers.

Solutions


· Capitalise on mannequins and social media to display outfit combinations that can be bought online and delivered touch-free.

· Sanitize fitting rooms between use.

· Change curtains from regular fabric to solid doors or anti-microbial fabrics Warwick has a range of Australian made high-performance fabrics or treat existing fabrics with antibacterial and antifungal protection.

· Hold clothes that have been tried on or returned for 48 hours, before returning to displays.

· Larger stores might consider investing in an Ozone sanitizing chamber to disinfect garments that have been returned or tried on.

Beauty

Single-use & sustainable are the ways forward for cosmetic and beauty product testers. Retail displays will also need rethinking around how to incorporate anti-microbial materials, and using protective shields in lieu of open-air displays.

Adapting


A business that can adapt and pivot in challenging times like these will often come out stronger. What will your multi-pronged approach be, specific to your business, and what you can do differently to stand out in your niche?

Do you have a question or a solution to share? Please comment or get in touch: projects@hollyco.studio.

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