Are you ready for the post-Covid boom?

Although the pandemic brought about a huge deal of uncertainty, the economy has reacted surprisingly well. This is in large part due to the furlough schemes which saw most people take in 80% of their wages, with their outgoings drastically cut. 

There has been an estimated £250b of savings stored up in the UK, with the Bank of England estimating around 5% of which to be spent. It is time to predict the drivers of the re-emergence of growth. 

 

Renewed optimism

Research already shows that consumer confidence is back. It is at the highest level recorded throughout the pandemic. 47% of consumers asked expressed an intent to treat themselves after the trials and tribulations of the past 12-18 months. This is especially prevalent within the Gez Z consumer group.

 

Support for local businesses to continue

Local businesses have seen a plethora of support throughout the crisis. Calls to support your local businesses were heeded, and this is set to continue. 35% of respondents to one survey said they have purchased from a local or independent store that they would not have done pre-pandemic. You might have thought it would be Baby Boomers that were most loyal to their locals, and they have certainly gone some way in propping up their locals, it turns out Gen Z has been the real star of the show.

This may slow once all stores are entirely re-opened, but local spend will remain higher than pre-COVID and a focus on a personal experience and convenience can be utilised. The shift in working patterns is unlikely to do a complete 360. People are set to continue working from home, at least partially, and local businesses can provide solutions to these groups.

 

Innovation from bricks and mortar retail

The ability to innovate from large sections of the bricks and mortar elements of the retail industry has instilled a lot of confidence in the industry moving forward. With a renewed focus on health and hygiene, people are likely to continue their preference for as few steps as possible. One aspect that is likely to continue is the preference for click-and-collect. This is especially the case in grocery, but not exclusively. 

Click-and-collect leads to some important upselling opportunities in-store, which sees an overlap of online and offline processes throughout purchasing journeys. An efficient and holistic omnichannel experience will go a long way to appealing to various generations. 

Click-and-collect in particular appeals to Gen Z, with their desire for purchasing convenience, but concerns here around the environmental impact of deliveries, due to carbon emissions and packaging. 

 

Customer experience is pivotal in-store

In-store experience needs to be the differentiating factor for your brand if you do want people returning to your physical store. Online will always remain a strong avenue, but this doesn’t mean you should give up on your bricks and mortar locations. Stimulating the senses in-store is vital and staff that really get and can sell the offering can make all the difference. Online can’t truly replicate this experience.

In one survey it was made clear that it was the overall experience that people missed about the high street during lockdown. 62% said it was the ability to physically see or try a product, with 52% preferring in-store methods of browsing. 52% again said it was simply the joy of shopping they missed. 

 

Prepare for the peak of the revival

2020 saw Amazon move Prime Day to October from July. The Black Friday and Christmas plans that have become ingrained retail traditions arrived earlier than ever. With Amazon unlikely to give up its position as the torchbearer for the holiday period, this is set to continue. 

Others need to ready their operations in order to counter, or in some cases pick up the pieces, depending on their strategy, and place in the (almost) natural retail ecosystem.

 

High spending as a means of returning life to normal seems to be nailed on, and there are plenty of opportunities for retailers to make up for lost time. Just as consumers are ready to spend to make up for the experiences they have lost out on, retailers need to be ready to take these opportunities. Retailers that realise they have the chance to make up for lost time and gear into action will be the ultimate winners.