The COVID Affect
I would say I am a typical bloke, shopping must be a pre-planned organised process, no wandering around aimlessly in the hope of finding what I need. All my research is concluded on-line before I leave the house, I have a plan and I am sticking to it.
I am slightly different though in some respects as the retail sector is my living, I am constantly looking at their new design and have a vested interest in visiting stores, but my outlook on shopping has changed and I believe this will be the same for many people.
For many people pre COVID-19 shopping was a social event, it made up part of our week, it was always there, we also had on-line but that could not compete with the whole ritual of being in a store, touching products pre-purchase. We took this for granted, well why wouldn’t we, shopping is a British stalwart, even during World Wars people still shopped.
Then bang the pandemic hits, suddenly without any real warning shopping was gone, we did not have time to mourn this, no time to analyse what had happened just no shopping. On-line markets revenues doubled overnight, the completely computer illiterate, the committed technophobes and the staunch anti-on-line had no choice but to jump on the digital bandwagon.
The hardened shoppers and the woefully addicted still have an outlet – garden centers and DIY stores, they are flourishing, I don’t mind admitting I look forward to a wander around the local garden center or B&Q with no other reason than to feel ‘normal’ for a couple of hours.
Retail will change, in a good way, people won’t take it for granted again, the guy stuck outside changing rooms while his wife tries on her 7th outfit will appreciate this time more, people’s on-line habits will change again, they will want to make the effort, retailers and brands need to start planning for the deluge of new shoppers, reward their faithful return with thought out shopping journeys and stores that scream ‘we’re back and we appreciate our customers more than ever.