Dr Retail 16.02.21
It’s now week seven into the new year and the UK remains in a state of lockdown. Many retailers have their staff on furlough and decisions are not being made on marketing plans proposed by brands. What can we except when the high street reopens? Brands are keen to engage customers and retailers need to sell. Will people flock to the shops, eager to spend money? Will the shops look any different? Retail analysists expect to see a spike in footfall, but the retail experience is not likely to be exciting, simply because the usual process of designing engaging campaigns and producing them has been disrupted.
We must ask, why go to a physical store in 2021? Will it be for sampling reasons? Maybe it will be to seek expert advice? What we know for sure is that it won’t be because it’s convenient. An interesting trend we’re seeing is how companies are adapting their existing spaces and in doing so, they’re developing a new proposition that’s competing with traditional retail, especially department stores.
Santander, the Spanish bank for example is developing a hub in Central Milton Keynes designed to offer flexible working for their employees and providing co-working space for the general public. There will also a be mixed-use spaces for the local community with retail stores, food offerings, and spaces to meet and relax. What Santander will create is a hybrid space that accommodates the way we now work, rest and play.
At the higher end of the market, Loewe, another Spanish company who sells luxury fashion and leather goods opened not just another fashion boutique on Paris’s chic Rue Saint Honore, but a boutique that’s more like a museum where customers can shop for leather goods and fashion alongside Picasso ceramics, vintage furniture and paintings usually only found in high-end galleries. Everything in the store is for sale; the boutique aims to serve the needs of its customers whose lifestyles have changed and their expectations have never been higher.
Now is the time for retailers to invest in the overall customer experience from digital discovery to instore experience. Valley is helping its clients to think about the shopper journey in more holistic ways where being omnipresent is more important than having an omnichannel strategy. To learn more about how to navigate an uncertain future using low-risk strategies get in touch.