The retail industry has to be one of the hardest hit sectors of any in the UK due to the effects of COVID-19. All non essential shops have been forced to close by the UK government until 15th June 2020 when the restrictions are eased providing that social distancing precautions are observed.
The high street has seen a steady decline as shopping habits have seen shopping centres boom since 1990’s.
Now the shopping centres are shut, many brands have disappeared, meaning that the age of the shopping centre is at risk and either needs to adapt or close.
Rent costs are high and many leading brands (such as Zara) have decided to close many branches. They are not alone, Debenhams have closed many branches, as has Cafe Rouge.
We certainly are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. Marketing for shops and retail companies is important. Have you noticed the TV adverts since shutdown have embraced marketing around social distancing and COVID-19?
We have seen shopping habits gradually changing and moving online for many years now. People browse in the shops, and spend online. However as many shops are closed, more and more people in the UK are spending online. Shopping platforms such as Amazon have seen their order numbers increase. ASOS (the online clothing brand) have also seen a surge in orders. The habit that a lot of us have got into, is it going to continue come June 15th?
Supermarkets are also doing really well and also have seen a surge in on-line shopping. Will this continue when the dust settles? Panic buying toilet roll and pasta may have stopped, but will people continue to shop in the traditional sense, or make use of the home delivery services we have seen a speedy rise in.
Most retail companies and shops have put their staff on the taxpayer backed furlough scheme. Business rates have been cut, but what about the future?
There will be a mass surge, as the public try to get back to the new normal. Shopping numbers will boom, however it might not be as you would hope.
There will be the ‘fear factor’ for weeks or even months to come. As many will be over cautious about ‘returning to normal’. Shops being forced to introduce social distancing and one way routes around stores.
Supply chains have been severally disrupted since many retailers have not been able to sell their spring collections. How do you safeguard them for the future? Stock less variety and more of the higher profit items?
When the curtain lifts in a couple of weeks, are people going to spend again? Are they going to make up for the last 10 weeks of near zero activity? Any adaptation needs to be done with social distancing taking centre stage. This also impacts the online shopping world that have staff working behind warehouse doors.
Hairdressers will certainly be busy, but what about clothing stores?
Will launching a ‘Sale’ be the answer?
We are all used to “Sales’ now since the 90’s. Easter Sale, Christmas Sale, Bank Holiday Weekend Sale, End Of Line Sale, January Sales, Valentines Day Sales, Fathers Day Sales. Will launching ‘This Centuries Biggest Ever Sale bring the shoppers back?
What about shop rental costs?
Having a marketing plan is essential more now than ever for any retail business. However that marketing plan needs to be adapted to how the world is going to look from Summer 2020 onwards.
Shopping trends have changed over the years, and COVID-19 has forced people that would not normally shop online, to shop online.
Like it or not, shopping habits have changed and almost all retail businesses now need to have a strong online presence. However competing against established online brands like ASOS will be difficult, especially for smaller retailers or independents. Even online retailers face their challenges with regards to staff safety.
Cutting back on expensive premises is something that is almost certainly going to be at the top of any retailers minds,
Toys’R’Us still is fresh in the minds of most of us, what can we learn about their failings?
Is having a big store in a shopping centre a wise move, or will things return to normal in due course?
Coronavirus has certainly damaged the British economy for decades to come; however people have still been spending. Most people have been able to get most things they wanted. Car sales have been low, but they have still happened.
Can you adapt your business to be more online?
Can you risk it if things do not ‘return to normal’?
Having time to plan and adapt your business is important. Maybe marketing and PR is something you need to consider, or maybe cutting back on floor space to make room for online selling is the answer?