Some thoughts from us following the positive news earlier on this week of retail stores being permitted to re-open in the UK on Monday 15th June:

Last week, Drapers Online shared the ways in which Kurt Geiger are preparing to facilitate a post COVID-19 consumer experience implementing additional health & safety measures in stores. From pop socks becoming mandatory to shoes going into quarantine for 24 hours after shoppers try them on, Kurt Geiger are leaving no stone unturned with ensuring consumers are offered as safe an environment as possible during the current pandemic.

Taking account of the retail industry’s significant growth of e-commerce and subsequent fall in the popularity of physical stores globally in recent years, which has undoubtedly been further exacerbated by the current pandemic, Kurt Geiger and other retailers’ efforts in attempting to make the entire consumer in-store experience as safe as possible post-COVID-19 must be applauded.

The short-term yet unfamiliar challenge of physical stores trying to generate footfall (albeit now in a more controlled manner) will prove a challenge for some with findings from McKinsey & Co. suggesting that 36% of senior retail executives believe it will take at least 6 months for store traffic to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. Additionally, total sales taking place online are predicted to rise from 17% pre-COVID-19 to 26% post-COVID-19.

Despite all of this, there should always be a demand from consumers to shop in physical stores. Fashion United reported that Hermès’ Guangzhou flagship re-opening in China on Saturday 11th April led to a staggering $2.7m USD of sales in 1 day.

Whilst the importance of a strong e-commerce offering has been considered paramount in recent months, it could be suggested that the key to overall longevity within retail continues to be a holistic omnichannel offering. Lane Crawford have demonstrated how successful such an offering can be with their omnichannel customers reportedly spending seven times more than single-channel customers.

Macy’s have also understood the value between online & offline integration for many years. Application of beacon technology allowing retailers like Macy’s to send personalised offers to shoppers’ smartphones based on their proximity to physical stores being one way in which digital channels can stimulate both online and offline activity.

Combining the overall potential of a well-executed omnichannel strategy and the likes of retailers such as Kurt Geiger going above and beyond to care for the overall safety of their customers in-store should certainly help the retail’s bricks and mortar presence fight back in a post COVID-19 environment.

With the UK Government’s recent announcement in mind, if you know of anyone who would find value sourcing PPE & hygiene supplies, please encourage them to take a look at our current ‘back to work’ offering – We are able to help and have accumulated 15 years of experience with globally sourcing such products.