September 2020

Don’t just do the same

My first piece of advice. We’ll soon have a drastic change in seasons and there will be new product ranges ready and waiting to go. Remind people why they like physical shopping. The ability to see, feel and choose – think about layouts and colour, fun and opportunity for helpful conversation and engagement. Westfield, the shopping centre chain, released

its ‘How We Shop’ report discussing the biggest retail trends to date and what the future holds. The report said that 2025 is the tipping point year when more than half of retail square meterage will be dedicated to experiences rather than product. A colossal 81 per cent of shoppers

interviewed said they would be willing to pay more for experience, 75 per cent will spend more in stores that offer experiences as well as product, and 42 per cent want to see more creative experiences in store. As an independent retailer, you may think that

your store cannot compete with Westfield in terms of size, scale and budget, but recent

consumer behaviour has shown that ‘local’ is just as important. So keep on fighting and entice consumers with products that appeal to their needs and desires to get out and shop and treat themselves. Make that contrast between the anonymity and soullessness that can be experienced by online shopping and the personal experience that local businesses can offer. With 40 per cent of all online sales during the

first three weeks in lockdown being ‘non-food’, the challenge is to win back those consumers who may have had no alternatives, particularly with distress purchases, to shop online. Take back control and don’t let go of your customer base.

Enhance the experience The experience is the glue that holds this together. An experiential model can streamline logistics and free up cash flow, allowing your sales advisers time to spend helping customers. Unlike the typical retail model that is focussed on immediate sales, the experiential model aims

to drive traffic into the shop and extend the customer’s dwell time in the space. Even if it doesn’t result in immediate physical sales, it can still be a longer term win as customers who spend time browsing tend to buy more expensive items and come back time and again. So think about how you could enhance the

experience – whether it’s smaller or bigger ranging, specialisation, marketing, PR, advertising, training or extra services. And then how do you socialise it? Free coffee, a fitting service, desk space to speak to someone face to face, new displays, improved window dressing, giving back to the community, offering key worker discounts? With an estimated £12.6 billion in revenue

forecast to be lost from UK retail sales in 2020 and 34 per cent of people worried about the economic recovery, the impact of COVID-19 could be long-term. So, keep your head up and make a good case for every valuable consumer pound being spent. Appeal to a national new found sense of community and locality and aim to socialise the shopping experience.

The future’s bright With the high street under increasing pressure it is essential that retailers give the consumer a reason to bother to visit their store. The experience should be a key piece in the retailer’s multi-channel offering, says Howard Saycell, Chief Executive, Retra.

their research online before deciding if they should actually visit; retailers must, therefore, use all the tools available to them to get consumers over their threshold and spending money. A quality, transactional website is essential. The site should offer both


finance and extended warranties. You must promote what is different about your store. Social media engagement is crucial. With the traditional forms of advertising becoming less and less effective you should be investing in social media and influencers. There is a section of society who simply will not visit a shop. They tend to be the younger generation, but certainly this year many more people may be questioning why they would bother to leave the safety and comfort of their homes to visit the high street. Clearly, life after COVID-19 will never be quite the same.

n order to get people across the doorstep it is not enough these days to have a great experiential store with quality staff and competitive pricing. More and more nowadays, consumers do



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