As we move into the next stage of pandemic restrictions easing it's no surprise that the topic of anxiety is gaining increasing attention. And, understandably so.
As our recent 'Changing Consumer Priorities' research shows, increased consumer anxiety is an issue across the world.
Much of that is health related, but there is also a large proportion of people concerned about their finances. In some particularly acute cases the two combine. Effectively, consumer demographics have shifted and retailers and consumer products business will need to look at groups from not only age and economic perspective, but also from a deeper behavioural dimension.
The longer term implications of the pandemic on consumer behaviour will take some time to crystalise but retailers will need to be beyond agile going forward. Matters of health and hygiene are likely to play heavily for months, if not years and future health events may well have a more profound impact on consumer behaviour than we've seen previously.
Just as importantly, this will have a significant impact on those who work in retail as well. This is something of increasing concern to retailers and the retailTRUST has been campaigning to ensure the impact of the pandemic on retail workers is addressed. Retail workers have been put on the front-line in the pandemic and as anxieties and frustrations have peaked they have often found themselves in harm's way.
All this demonsrates the delicate balancing act facing retailers. Increasingly demanding (or self-centric) consumers with heightened and fluctuating anxiety levels; employees who share those anxieties having to meet customer service expectations in increasingly complex scenarios; and the need to transform their businesses to respond not only to pandemic-driven demands but also issues of sustainability and establishing a truly omnichannel model.