How Do We Keep Post-Lockdown Shopping ‘Fun’?
16 July 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
As the physical shopping experience makes its first steps to resume, small and independent businesses arguably have an extra problem on their hands. Because of their expected size and capacity, some smaller brands may feel limited in what they are able to offer as a new kind of retail remains under scrutiny. As consumers weigh up the worth of heading back to the high street, how can stores keep the ‘fun’ in shopping – if at all?
What do we know so far?
The UK is looking to follow in the footsteps of Europe, with the most prominent examples and feedback seen across the Netherlands and Germany. Despite the shops being open for the longest global length of post-lockdown time, there is still a distinct lack of crowds and limited rushes. That being said, there are reports of a new invigorated energy on the rise, with an increase in those visiting ‘non-essential’ stores between May and June. Although it is still too early to predict how the retail industry will hold up in the long run, there are a few patterns beginning to emerge to help shape how the consumer is navigating their post-lockdown lives. The younger fashion demographic remains the least phased by the pandemic and has sailed through relatively unscathed – meaning they’ll continue to be the most likely to bear with store queues and safety measures. As for the brands themselves, this new shopping experience has no universal answer or format.
What measures need to be in place?
There is an argument that the fact independent and smaller stores can only accommodate between 2-4 customers at a time will put the public off entering the store in the first place. However, this could be turned on its head with focus on the attention to personal detail, transforming a visit into an exclusive ‘personal shopping’ experience. There is also bound to be uncertainty surrounding introduced safety measures, with many brands deciding for themselves what will be the best approach to keep their staff and customers safe. For some this has included steam-ironing clothes throughout the customer journey, for others it encompasses the stricter measures of specifically prepared fitting areas with cards to read how many items are being tried on. This extends to how brands are dealing with return guarantees – for those looking to limit this side of the shopping experience, the return period itself has been noticeably extended. As it stands, the outlook on physical shopping is still well away from becoming the care-free, enjoyable experience it once was. Adding together obligatory public disinfection and extra measures such as masks could be seen to be too tedious to keep a loyal flow of customers coming back. Having said this, many are willing to commit to small acts of continued safety in order to begin to return to some form of normalcy – and more importantly – support the brands and business they know and love.
photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/@kseniachernaya