May 13, 2020 / Industry

Retail Strategy Post Covid-19 // The Role of The Retail Store

To understand the role of stores moving forward, we need to ask these key questions:

  • Where was retail headed before?
  • What can we learn from what has just happened?
  • What do your customers need from a visit to your store?
  • How can we serve our society?

Where were we headed before?

Be aware.

We know that gradually the role of a retail store was becoming less about the transaction itself and more about building and maintaining relationships.

Like many industries or services, as we transition out of lockdown, we can expect this progression to have been accelerated.

What can we learn from what has just happened?

Be conscious. 

People who did some shopping online will likely now do more, and those who were yet to adopt have had to get to know remote delivery services. We can expect people to carry on using these services, and so we should – look at the positive impact on the environment that we have seen from their services to due to changes to delivery logistics, without the massive strain that is created by unnecessary individual visits.

Though we are all short on facts when it comes to transitioning back out of lockdown, the consistent variable in plans that are starting to come out in different locations is that they will be staggered. Your journey must work for fewer visitors initially and also as things begin to build momentum and get busier. Bear this in mind and keep things simple, fewer touch-points but make each one count.

What do your customers need from a visit to your retail store?

Be empathetic.

If people can replenish online, then interactions in a retail store will be directly linked to developing relationships, new product discovery and services that cannot be delivered using digital. Take this reset as a chance to incorporate your CMS into your online platforms and your store, and you will get a clear picture of the long term value of relationships that are forged in physical spaces.

People’s step back to basics will have made them more mindful. One considered task at a time. Before we were having to start to help people address burnout. We now need to be sure to design experiences that allow them to support these habits and celebrate this new mindset. We know for sure it is a healthier way of living.

For many who have grown used to life in lockdown, coming back out into the real world will take courage and effort. Have respect for this brave act and an appreciation for the fact that anything they could have done they have chosen to visit your store. Keep them safe and deliver them a considered and go above and beyond to provide a meaningful experience in a retail store destination.

How can we serve our society?

Be community-minded.

In their origin and definition, stores were created to serve the community. People needed bread, and the bakery was born. People needed meat, and they went to the butcher. The owners of these stores knew how to stock their shelves because they talked to the people they served, they listened, and they used what they learnt. What they bought and made was in direct response to what their customers needed and wanted.

People are now very able and even more used to buying essentials and topping up online, but there is still a crucial role that the store can play to both your community and individuals.

When thinking about building and maintaining relationships and supporting your community, understand:

A) What do people need or want from your brand in-store that they cannot get online

B) How your physical and digital presence can work together to offer even more value than they could in their own right

Build your retail store strategy around these conclusions.