4 Focus Areas for Post-Pandemic Retail

Never let a good crisis go to waste”

– Winston Churchill

At a time where everything seems to be bad news for retail, it is important, just like in all aspects of life, to balance the negative with some positive. In today’s blog, we will discuss four key areas where retail innovation is moving the fastest from all over the world. These examples are a snippet from JCWG’s RetailWATCH Shopping Revolution, adapted from a piece that contributed to a global overview project hosted by our partners at the Ebeltoft Group.

Every country has its own unique factors that will influence recovery, which is exactly why looking beyond borders is a great source of inspiration. Our first example comes from here in Canada. Toronto-based tech company BIG Digital has developed the technology for a smart display that also acts as a customer counter.

Technology such as this can have a major impact on customer attitude while queuing. Having clear signage can reduce frustration and keep abandoned trips and abandoned carts to a minimum. We expect to see a lot of innovation in this previously uncharted territory, including low-capital solutions such as a simple livestream of the queue on the retailer’s app or website.

As retail space usage changes, innovations such as this virtual showroom at King Living Australia will become more prevalent. The showroom/virtual showroom model is a more effective use of space, with opportunities to further integrate omnichannel, improved safety procedures, and avoid post-shutdown pitfalls such as understocked shelves, something that customers do not want to remember from pre-shutdown panic buying.

This idea can also be extended to virtual consultations, such as the ones now offered by Mecca, also in Australia. Virtual appointments skip the queue and keep customers confident in their safety and the brand top of mind.

Our third trend addresses tooling. Customers are more aware of physical touchpoints than ever before, and in order to keep them visiting physical locations, retail equipment essentials must change to adapt. For example, elevator food pedals and UV sterilizing escalator handrails can free up employee time to focus on customers. Suitsupply from Canada plans on utilizing glass shields to protect customers and tailors while maintaining the level of service it is known for.

Finally, the last trend that has seen a surge in adoption is click-and-collect. This is popular for obvious reasons, but it also serves well as a catalyst to jumpstart a retailer’s online presence. Many retailers have been experimenting with this model, such as offering drive-thru pickup or trunk pickup, or by partnering with Amazon’s new program Amazon Counter; Amazon packages can be picked up at the partner retailer’s bricks-and-mortar store, driving customer traffic. As hyper-local delivery becomes the norm, we expect to see lots of growth in same day delivery services.

For more information on our RetailWATCH program and to receive the Shopping Revolution, please contact Lisa Hutcheson at lhutcheson@jcwg.com


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