Jun 22, 20203 min read

As stores reopen, retailers must navigate a new normal.

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by Klarna

Last week, Sourcing Journal brought together industry experts on a webinar to discuss retail’s road to recovery as stores reopen around the US in a post-pandemic world. Executives from rue21, Cushman & Wakefield, and Klarna shared insights into how stores can remain a place of discovery while prioritizing the health and safety of shoppers and employees. Here are some of the key takeaways of the conversation:

Shoppers’ buying habits have changed

Looking at shopping behaviors from Klarna’s app in the US, which allows customers to shop from any online store, data revealed how e-commerce spending has shifted throughout the pandemic. We saw 4 distinct phases:

  • “Stock Up” – shoppers spending more on groceries and pet food in the beginning of the shelter-in-place regulations
  • “Settle In” – millennials and Gen X audiences buying more electronics and video games
  • “Let’s do something” – after getting stir crazy in the apartment, people were buying more running shoes and DIY supplies
  • “Stimulus” – similar levels of shopping to the holidays in categories like jewelry and self care

As the country reopens, people are spending to update their new summer wardrobes and lock down flights for those much-needed getaways. Retailers will need to adjust to these new and changing shopping patterns for both the online and in-store experience.

Cushman & Wakefield’s path to re-opening “Safe Six”
  1. Prepare the Building – implement cleaning plans, pre-return inspections, and HVAC and mechanicals checks
  2. Prepare the Workforce – create policies for deciding who returns, shift/schedule management and employee communications
  3. Control Access – enforce protocols for safety and health checks, building reception, shipping/receiving, elevators and visitor policies
  4. Create a Social Distancing Plan – follow guidelines for decreasing density, schedule management and office traffic patterns
  5. Reduce Touch Points & Increase Cleaning – implement open doors, clean-desk policy, food plans and regular cleaning of common areas
  6. Communicate for Confidence – recognize the fear employees may feel in returning, communicate transparently and listen/survey regularly
How will retailers adapt to contactless payments?

rue21 noted that associates are required to wear a mask, their stores are stocked up on hand sanitizer, cleaning procedures have doubled in high touch areas throughout the stores, and contactless payment solutions have been accelerated. Users will need to adapt to the new procedures and technology.

Earlier this year, Klarna launched in-store payments for US customers to provide contactless options in physical retail locations. Now live in 11,000+ stores globally, including rue21, H&M, Good American and more, more retailers are looking at contactless payment options to provide customers the safety and security they seek during these times.

Ultimately, brands that are bringing newness and innovation to the marketplace are going to win. Retailers that understand their audiences and manage expectations will come out on top to have the right products available across online and offline channels.

Get in touch to learn how you can improve sales at this time.

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