As retailers struggle with re-opening strategies it’s clear the new normal will be something we have never experienced. Consumers in many areas of the world have tightened their wallets and eliminated discretionary spending because of lost jobs, lower wages, and uncertainty about when a significant number of vaccinations will be completed and how long the recovery might take.
It won’t be business as usual for non-essential retailers slowly reopening stores or when it comes to hiring holiday staff. That’s according to a survey of major retailers by Korn Ferry in which 66% of respondents said they will bring back only 80% or fewer of normal store employee staff as stores open, with 37% saying they will only bring back about half of the employees..
Nearly half (41%) of the retailers expect to have fewer seasonal workers this fall/holiday season. And 37% said they expect to have fewer permanent workers this holiday season than they did last season.
Storefront Space Will Need To Be Reconsidered
Shopping habits have morphed into behaviors and demands retailers are trying to accommodate. Corona has made us all honorary members of the Home Shopping Club. And we've gotten used to it. Planners must consider what percentage of people will not return to stores on a regular basis. Free delivery and returns make the prospect of never visiting the mall again very attractive to shoppers. The overhead of a large storefront presence is not likely in any business plans of the big retailers. The smart money is trending toward technology and home delivery assets. Crowd sourcing options, like Uber and Lyft, will likely experience a surge in demand for retail and grocery deliveries. Stay-at-home orders have been in place long enough for people to develop new habits, and the reopening process has been gradual enough that the online shopping habits many people have acquired will become their default go-to routines for many things.
Adjusting To The Post Covid Shopper
Corona Virus may permanently change the in-store retail experience. It's important for retailers to revisit, revise and integrate their digital strategy across the enterprise and to have a unified data platform that allows them to adjust as consumer expectations shift week-to-week, and even day-to-day. Managing their business-critical information in a master data management solution will help retailers advance their capabilities in an increasingly digital retail landscape, which, in turn, will help better serve today's shoppers. Online shopping, virtual fitting rooms and a liberal return policy is likely the plan to eventually emerge given the current environment.
Those retailers embracing digital transformation from marketing to delivery will likely be the ones that come out on top once restriction orders and the COVID-19 crisis have subsided. Start preparing now by taking a deep dive into your operational, product and customer data and use that information to roll out the best products, and pick-up/delivery options, for your store.
The sight of malls packed with holiday shoppers will not likely be the norm this year; perhaps by Christmas. No one is sure of the long-term fallout from this pandemic, but it has reshaped the retail landscape significantly. Our hopes and prayers go out to everyone who has been affected by these conditions.
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Stay Safe Everyone.
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