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How and when will shoppers return to store...

As attention turns to reopening stores and trying to tempt customers back while ensuring they can enjoy a safe shopping experience, there are many scenarios that should be considered. Nobody has a crystal ball but early insight from China and the rest of Europe provide some clues as to how consumers will react and what this is likely to mean for demand across bricks and mortar estates.

Firstly, footfall will take a long time to recover. This obviously varies by category but footfall is likely to take months to recover to anything like previous levels, especially in non-essential retail. However, average transaction value is up, when people do venture into a shop they make the most of the visit. Maximising basket size will be essential for all retailers.

Secondly, it is essential to make the most of other channels - e-commerce obviously but also 3rd party platforms, social commerce and even outbound call centres are making a return. For some categories (e.g. jewellery) telesales is proving to be a winner while the shops are shut, some of this will stick and become part of the 'new normal'.

Thirdly, we are definitely all in this together. Luxury stores and discounters are all wrestling with the same issues of when and how to reopen, how to manage excess inventory, how to restart disrupted supply chains, and how to make some money and preserve cash as they do so. 

Given the uncertainty over customer demand, agility and flexibility will be critical. One thing we can be certain of is that any restart plan will need to be changed in flight many times!

From the early 20th century, when Selfridges opened its doors in 1909, to the 21st where it is book-ended by value fashion giant Primark, Oxford Street has been home to retail firsts and flagships. But as lockdown eases, it has a challenge on its hands to draw shoppers once again.


retail, consumer products, covid-19, restart
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