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How retailers can prepare for a post Covid-19 new ‘normal’

8th Jun 2020

Retail has perhaps felt the impact of COVID-19 stronger than any other industry. With the majority of physical outlets shutting their doors and many staff furloughed, retailers have adapted to one of the most disruptive periods they may ever experience.
 
As we reach a stage when many brands are looking to reopen their doors, it may not be a smooth transition into ‘business as usual’. As such, there are ways for retailers to adjust their operations, keep customers and employees happy and adapt to a new way of working.
 
1.     Customer needs and expectations are changing
 
The benefits of artificial intelligence in retail is not a new idea, but the current climate has highlighted now more than ever. Using artificial intelligence will help retailers. From daily task management to gaining customer insights, through storing customer insights, information and shopping habits in a retailer’s database the company can later access that information about a customer’s purchase preferences. Not only does this create a better relationship with customers, but also allows brands to acquire a wide collection of customer insight.
 
2.     Digital touchpoints
 
Digital will be an integral part of a retailers post-Covid plan and central to ensuring both customer and employee safety. Physical stores need to consider the flexibility needed to ensure customer safety. Retailers will have to reconfigure their stores in a simpler way to enable customers to see the range of products but remain two meters apart, whilst additional measures such as plastic screens as checkouts will need to be put in place. Replacing the physical with the digital is a safe design solution to improve customer service, speed-up waiting times whilst overall minimising human interaction. Our recent work at Boots installing digital point of purchase touchscreens, for example, will enable the retailer to offer their customers the same services in a safe environment.
 
3.      Commitment to innovation  
 
Whilst brands will be less reliant on pop-ups, once the safety restrictions ease, there will be opportunity to continue to build in-store experiences. Pop-ups and experiential shopping will serve as an incubator for new business to test the physical market in a post-Covid environment. Retailers should continue to plan how they can drive customer footfall through excting and innovative design soltuions. 
 
The past few months have taught us that the need for flexibility and agility is critical. At Quantum 4 we adapt our offering to current market trends and project lifespans to drive further efficiency into the design process. For more information: https://quantum4.co.uk/contact

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