Retail After Restrictions are Lifted: 5 Ways Retailers Can Adapt Now
The pandemic has upended retail we once knew it. Retailers that were teetering pre-pandemic, are now struggling to stay afloat, while others are pivoting to not just survive, but thrive in the new retail reality.
Here are some strategies to incorporate moving forward as retail begins reopening.
Omnichannel is More Important Than Ever
Customers now expect a dizzying array of options to their online and in-store shopping, including buy online and pick-up curbside or in-store, free local delivery, and flexible return policies. And they expect an integrated experience across all devices and channels. But rather than think the in-store experience has diminished in importance, it’s just the opposite: it’s an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the consumer experience.
Reimagine Experiential Retail
High-touch experiences—everything from beauty product demos to laying down on out a mattress to learning about and trying all the new features of a touchscreen device—will need to be reimagined, possibly with the use of additional technology. At T-ROC, we’re working on the development of a virtual brand ambassador platform that would be motion-activated—as a shopper walks by a screen, a brand ambassador would be available to walk them through a product’s features and answer any questions in real-time.
The only way to maintain a successful omnichannel shopping experience is with a robust, real-time omnichannel approach to inventory management. Managing sales and costs across channels have never been more critical. We’re working with one retailer to place RFID tags on every piece of apparel—an investment that will result in a nearly 50% increase in inventory accuracy, and equally important, they now have just-in-time data that we analyze and interpret to help them make informed manufacturing and distribution decisions.
Invest in Training
Just as you’ve trained associates on how to present your brand or product, now they need to be well prepared to help their customers feel secure in an in-store environment. It’s much more than following CDC guidelines, it’s about their ability to empathize with customers, and how to interact genuinely. Understand that everyone is on their journey as to what makes them feel at ease and comfortable shopping again.
Think Outside the Box
Whether your brick-and-mortar business is open or closed, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, focused on what your customers need now, and how your business can pivot to best meet those needs—now and for the foreseeable future. This is the time when technology-driven retail solutions can shine.
Even as I write this, there are more changes in way stores are operating in light of continuing concerns for health and safety. That’s even more reason why flexibility and nimbleness are required now. There are major changes that need to be made now; some will be costly and some will be complex. The good news is the entire retail industry is adapting and learning together, and there are resources and third-party providers that can help navigate these changes with you.
To find out more about how a third-party solutions provider can help your reopening efforts, get in touch with Chris Green, Senior Vice President, Business Development at T-ROC, firstname.lastname@example.org.