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March 2021 ertonline.co.uk


‘It’s all about the customer experience’ A summary of the webinar


The next webinar of the week was with Daniel Todaro, Managing Director of Gekko Field Marketing, who spoke about the coming year’s trends for retail and how retailers can still reach customers in the absence of experiential events and promotions.


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hat has happened in the past year has been very impactful in our sector, and retailers have had to adapt and be agile. But the situation is changing and when doors reopen you need to make sure you have the customer’s experience in mind.


Borrowing from other areas, some retailers have done a tremendous job


in adapting already. Dixons Carphone has to be applauded; it was very quick to implement changes in its operations. Click and collect was superb, it was well orchestrated by the staff. Of course, it does have the benefit of being in larger areas like retail parks, but I know many independents did very similar things. And Richer Sounds adopted an appointment booking system, and we’ll probably see something like this continue.


Q: How do you think retailers feel about stores reopening? Is there any concern that footfall may remain slow to begin with? I strongly recommend that retailers don’t be nervous. We saw after lockdown one that shoppers came flooding back and they were shopping with purpose. We saw an increase of about 40 per cent in sales; there was clearly pent-up demand. For retailers this indicated there was a real opportunity to engage with


the consumer. We saw this trend after lockdown two and I would imagine it will happen after this one as well. Consumer confidence is key, and 49 per cent of shoppers have said


they’d be happy to go back into stores. It’s all about the customer experience. Everyone has missed this. We saw footfall decline by just over 39 per cent in 2020. Most impacted


were the high streets, and retail parks less so, but I think people will start using their local independent store more than driving into a busy town centre or further to out of town shops. Google Analytics shows that one of the highest searches that happened


during 2020 was “near me” and that trend will continue with people staying closer to home. Q: How can retailers reopen with a bang? Local and digital advertising. You may not be an omnichannel retailer or have an online proposition, but act like one. You can still have a digital footprint even if you don’t transact online. Online sales increased 46 per cent last year – that is a lot of people. But


these people need to know that you’re back trading in store. What are your hours, where can they find you, what safety measures do you have in place? When you reopen, don’t open to the same layout, the same displays and


the same products. This would be very dull for the consumer who’s probably been looking forward to revisiting, so think about reengaging the senses.


For example, health and fitness products are flying right now so bring these


to the front and it could prove extremely beneficial. Or change out your window displays so passers-by will know instantly that you’re operating again. Also, if there’s an area of your store that has to be removed to make space


for social distancing, then do it. Once you create that safe and inviting environment for shoppers, you’ll be on to a winner. The biggest thing is customer service – you cannot get this online. From


a staff training perspective, soft skills are just as crucial when you’re in conversation with people. Some may have gone a bit rusty!


Q: Do you feel the trend of home improvement will continue? It’s highly unlikely that anyone will be booking a foreign holiday soon, and the reality is if consumers are going to spend most of this year at home again they will continue adapting and changing their spaces. Whether that’s seasonally or just whenever they fancy, people will be reinvigorating their kitchens and living areas to make them more comfortable for spending more time in. There is a sense of optimism now. People are going to be spending money because there’s so much pent-up demand.


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