Retail Revolution: How bricks and mortar set to survive after the pandemic
Many of Britain’s best loved Retailers are innovating to draw in more customers since the threat of Retail going under after the pandemic.
Rebirth of the high street?
The so-called ‘death of the high street’ has been heralded for years amid declining footfall and rising online sales. Coronavirus, and particularly the national lockdown, has only accelerated an existing trend. Still, while it has been declared dead many times, the high street does retain signs of life.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, is hopeful. She told Which?
‘Retail is one of the most innovative and vibrant industries, and it is adapting to changing consumer behaviours and new technologies. Consumers are increasingly looking for experiences, leisure and services to complement traditional retail, and it is great to see so many retailers rising up to this challenge.’
There is no denying that the year of 2020 has been an abysmal year for the high street. Retail sales may have returned to pre-pandemic levels in July, but there was already doom and gloom about the high street before coronavirus shut down shops and accelerated the shift to online shopping.
Against this grim backdrop, some of Britain’s best-known retailers are drastically rethinking the way they work and branching out in unexpected directions to survive. For example, let’s take a look at how Selfridges and M&S have adapted to the change. Will it be enough to tempt shoppers back to the high street?
Selfridges takes it outside
High-end department store Selfridges has taken a unique approach to social distancing by opening outdoor stalls behind its Oxford Street store. The ‘Market on the Mews’ is open at weekends, selling food, drink, flowers and homeware. Selfridges has also announced plans for a rental service – allowing customers to rent luxury clothing from 40 of the store’s biggest brands – and is considering repairing and reselling products as part of a wider sustainability drive.
M&S introduces technology
M&S amongst many other Retailers may have recently made the headlines for its job cuts, but that doesn’t mean M&S has stopped innovating. Firstly, they have introduced a ‘new format’ store in Nottingham, designed to seamlessly integrate with the M&S checkout-free payment app. (The kind supermarkets have been working on and trialling throughout lockdown)
The store will have free wi-fi and a rapid click-and-collect counter. On top of this, customers in London will be able to buy some of the freshest herbs on the market thanks to a partnership with urban farming platform Infarm. Seven London M&S branches now have Infarm farming units, which create a climate-controlled environment for fresh herbs to grow. You may have already seen these around – since they’ve actually been around since before lockdown.*
Sarah Cokayne, head of retail support services, says M&S has seen a significant move towards contact-free shopping during the pandemic.
“Over 10,000 new regular users of Mobile Pay Go have come on board since March 2020; this technology will only continue to progress. Digitally connected stores are more important now than ever before,” she says. M&S has tripled its Mobile Pay Go network from 100 to 310 stores this summer.**
There are concerns from a shopper’s point of view, so a survey was carried out via Raconteur. See below for reference.
POPAI – Part of the shop global network, who we are members with also publish insight reports about the Retail industry. Their recent analysis was revolving around Digital Technology, and how Retail set to survive. This report includes Digital Signage, Integration & Measurement as well as emerging Technology and Global Innovation.
See more here
What will high street shopping be like in 2021?
The aim for 2021 is revolving around the all-important 2 question marks:
(1) How can we maintain safety for our staff and customers?
(2) How can Retail survive?
- More stores are being transformed into logistics hubs as click-and-collect culture becomes the norm, with retail brands considering how logistics hubs can become destinations in and of themselves.
- Stores will no doubt continue to make sure that changing rooms are out of use. Influencing customers to make purchases in store and return if not suited.
- Capacity checks we expect will continue. Many retailers have included members of staff to be situated at the entrance and exit of the store, which calculates how many customers are on the shop floor at any given time, maintaining a lower footfall.
- Retailers/ Brands should still maintain to present hand sanitising stations at the entrance/ exit of stores with protective screen partitions at the till points.
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Where we come in
Ultimately, our aim here at Pivotal is to help Retailers and Brands elevate their presence in store, drive sales, maintain a safe footfall and increase brand awareness. We want to make sure that customers have an easy and pleasant shopping experience, all whilst maintaining that safety is met.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we came together to create low cost, yet high quality protective solutions to our customers all across the UK including Pharmacies, Schools, Independent shops, Retailers and Head Offices.
Furthermore, the shopping journey is forever adapting, but now more than ever, we are always thinking of new and creative ways to adapt to the new norm. With our Creative Development team, we are here and able to provide solutions, displays and innovative technology to help move forward.
Contact us today for any enquiries on how we can help, no matter how big or small the project may be.
Retail is not dead!