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Retail Technology News and Analysis for Omni-Channel Retailers




James Hay, Managing Director of Burroughs London

Covid-19 has brought about immediate and lasting changes that have led retailers to rethink almost every aspect of their business, from hygiene to customer experience, physical store roles, and channel integration.

This article categorizes the impact of Covids on new store openings in three phases: initial response, adjustment period (which we consider current), and long-term change.

Safety First-First Reaction

When the coronavirus swept the globe earlier this year, retailers scrambled to find quick fixes to secure their store environment with Covid. Meanwhile, it took only a few weeks to open a new Holland & Barrett store format in Chelmsford, Essex.

From the temperature scanner at the entrance to the touch-free disinfection station in the store, to ensure that each touch point is properly equipped with safety measures along the purchase route so that shoppers and clerk can spend their time safely. I needed to respond quickly. New environment.

Our guidance to today’s clients is that safety and hygiene must be at the forefront of design in order to be truly effective and cannot simply be the final overlay.

Adapt to challenges and opportunities

As retailers adapt to the pandemic, a relentless obsession with the customer experience is essential to ensure sustainable success. This means responding at a pace to the evolution of customer preferences and new issues created by the pandemic. For example, queuing in front of (and outside) a store is commonplace.

Holland & Barrett quickly identified this issue and partnered with Mercaux to allow shoppers to browse products and create baskets while in line before entering the store. The customer then receives a pre-packed order in front of the store, saving time and reducing the risk of infection.

There are many ways retailers and innovators can maximize the opportunities they create when new habits are formed. It is imperative that retailers show true empathy and curiosity so that they do not assume that stores designed to fit previous behavioral patterns will remain effective in the short to medium term.

Looking to the future-permanent change

In the light of the explosive growth of e-commerce over the last 6-7 months, there is a steady negative trend towards the future of physical stores.

The big acceleration brought about by Covid-19 is one of the most exciting times of change in the retail industry as retailers seek to radically rethink how shoppers interact with brands to buy products. Will lead to.

As a result of the speed of change, a sharp decline in the number of stores in the UK is inevitable (not to mention the additional cost of hygiene due to pandemics). However, we believe this could provide physical store opportunities in the long run.

The physical retailer’s economy can be reset, rents can be significantly reduced, and in some cases business rates can be reduced. As an example, Next’s boss, Sir Wolfson, recently cut rent by an average of 50% this year during lease negotiations with the landlord, and Next cuts rent charges by $ 9.9 million annually. I said it was planned.

One approach to demonstrating popularity is fewer, better stores with an emphasis on integration between channels. In June, Zara closed 1,000-1,200 small stores, invested 1 billion in online services by 2022, and an additional 1.7 billion in the remaining store real estate to improve integration with websites. And announced plans to enable faster delivery and real-time tracking. Of the product.

As advertisers continue to move their spending from goal-achieving processes to conversion-driven tactics, we also see opportunities for retailers to deliver dynamic, localizable, and ultimately personalized digital content in-store. ..

This opens up new revenue streams for retailers and enhances the effectiveness of traditional point-of-sale materials. This demonstrates the success of Barrows’ proprietary Connected Store model, which is currently in use at hundreds of stores across South Africa, including Spar and Pick n Pay.

I don’t think integration will be the only change to physical property. As physical stores struggle to match e-commerce with price and convenience, many stores expect to raise the dial for entertainment and in-store theaters as a way to promote entertainment and bring back customers.

The big acceleration brought about by Covid-19 is one of the most exciting times of change in the retail industry as retailers seek to radically rethink how shoppers interact with brands to buy products. Will lead to.

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