woman shopping wearing face mask

Retail 2.0: Plans for a Profitable Post-Lockdown Comeback

11th June 2020

While it’s not unusual for retailers to experience slumps in sales at some point, in the wake of the current global pandemic, many brick-and-mortar retailers will have been hit harder than ever before as physical stores were forced to close and have remained that way for months. 

However, as lockdown restrictions are set to ease later this month, many high street retailers will be able open their doors, so we thought we’d look beyond the current lockdown situation, focusing on how retail store owners can plan for a profitable post-lockdown comeback in the coming months and years. 

From streamlining in-store customer experience to implementing new loyalty programmes and investing in both an online and offline presence, we’ll share a number of ideas to improve operational efficiency and overall profitability once shop doors are able to open again.

Streamline your in-store customer journey

With reports that 42% of consumers are vowing to do more online shopping even when lockdown restrictions have gone, it’s more important than ever for physical retail stores to up their game when it comes to optimising the in-store customer experience. 

Designing a store layout that allows people to maintain social distancing protocol could be a wise consideration to show shoppers you’re prioritising their health. This could include wider shopping aisles, directional floor markers to control footfall, separate entry and exit points and 2-metre distancing prompts at till points. 

Eye-catching retail merchandising will also continue to be a core focus for improving customer experience in your store. Keep retail shelving displays fresh and seasonal, and incorporate highly visual elements with a specific focal point to draw attention to specific products or promotions.

It’s also essential not to overlook optimising your back-of-house as this plays an important role in the ecosystem of your store and your customers’ overall experience with your brand. Utilising retail stockroom shelving is key to maintaining streamlined and organised operations from behind the scenes, whether it’s finding an alternative garment size for a customer or aiding speedy stock replenishment.

Give back to loyal customers

When you’re thinking of how to increase sales in retail, it’s natural that a lot of focus goes on generating new business, but don’t forget about your repeat spenders. Those existing customers already know your brand and add to your bottom line, so it’s important to retain this valuable revenue stream where you can. 

When planning for a post-lockdown retail store, introducing a new loyalty programme to your current customer base could be just the incentive they need to visit you in-store and part with their cash, rather than shopping online. 

It doesn’t need to be a complicated system either. A simple points or cash reward that accumulates with every purchase, which can be redeemed against their next purchase or saved up, can be an effective way to retain your best customers and give them better customer service in the process.

Branch out into omnichannel retail

As ecommerce continues to grow, many retailers are diversifying their revenue streams to incorporate both online and offline shopping experiences to their customers. However, if you’re looking to increase sales in retail and future proof your brand, you need to do more than just offer the option to buy online or in store. This is where omnichannel retail comes in. 

This model syncs online and offline retail to provide a holistic shopping experience for consumers that spans from your social media and website to your brick-and-mortar shop – allowing customers to browse, buy and return items across all areas of your business. 

By uniting all interactions with your brand, the customer has greater flexibility to shop how, when and where they want in a way that’s most convenient for them. For instance, they could see a product on a social media advert, buy it through your website, try it on at home, then return or exchange it in store. 

Omnichannel retail also gives you the ability to reach customers at every point of their online journey from their initial search query to buying intent. By utilising social media and paid for advertising, as well as traditional in-store marketing, you can make sure your brand is omnipresent and at the forefront of shoppers’ minds, whether they buy in store, through a social media advert or via your website.

Embrace the click-and-collect revolution

If you don’t have the full capability to go all-in with omnichannel retail, then as a minimum you should be offering your customers the chance to click-and collect – whereby they buy a product online and pick it up in store. 

In the post-pandemic world where many shoppers may be hesitant to linger in shops for too long, it provides an essential level of convenience and safety for shopping with their favourite brands. 

In the name of public safety, you can take this idea one step further by offering your customers the option to click-and-collect their purchases from secure lockers, either in store or at specific locations. As a tactic already successfully employed by Amazon, this strategy could be a desirable USP for consumers who want to stay safe and shop at their own convenience.

When it comes to preparing your retail store for reopening, there’s definitely a lot to consider, but when it comes to optimising your operational efficiency, we’re here to help. 
Take a step towards getting your retail store ready for business by shopping our range of strong, durable and versatile stockroom shelving solutions for retail settings online now or get in touch to discuss your individual needs with our storage experts.