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What is the likely effect of the Coronavirus on the retail sphere?



While we are unable to stop the virus, there will be many necessary changes that retailers will need to make in order to meet the short term needs of its customers at this time.

With that being said, the financial fallout of this disaster will have some real effects on retailers globally. There will be retailers who do not survive, a decline in customer numbers, a decline in basket size and jobs lost.

Although it all sounds a bit worrying, it is important that retailers understand the current mindset of consumers and make the necessary changes to keep fighting.

Consumers are currently concerned about house hold basics, job security and their work schedules. Holiday and travel plans have been disrupted and investments are seeing a decline. The concern for the health of themselves and their families is forefront, with anxiety and fear filling the minds of most.

So what are consumers looking for right now? We believe its security and safety. It’s some of the most basic human needs. Unruly spending will not be at the center of people’s minds. Being more conservative about purchases and spending will take center stage.

A great article from ‘inside retail’ highlighted some important points for retailers to consider in this time will communicating to consumers.

Communicate clearly and effectively

Now is not a time to be talking about promotions or writing elaborate stories. Be precise and clear with your messaging

Prioritise easy access products

Foot traffic will decrease and access to public spaces will be very intentional, consumers going into stores with intent, think about how you can make basic products, easy to see and reach. Home delivery options are going to be very important.

Break down new decision barriers

As consumers confidence takes a dive, there will be many excuses about why customers wont spend with your brand. It could be uncertainty about pricing or availability, uncertainty about delivery on what is promised. You need to think about how you remove the newly found barriers to spend with you.

Demonstrate commitment to safety

We need to take measures that this threat is something we take very seriously and customers can ensure they are safe with you. Simple steps include keeping stores tidy and organized, access to sanitizers and putting forward informative information that allows consumers to understand that you know what you’re doing during a time like this. Sephora did this really well, by cancelling all in-store makeup services to limit risk of spread.

Put the wellbeing of staff first

If you have teams with customers shouting at them, are working through sickness or worried about job security, their anxiety will flow onto consumers.

We don’t know how long this will last, but these fundamental changes could make a great difference to how consumers feel about shopping with you.

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