Retail stores have been around for centuries, dating back to 800 BC in Ancient Greece, where people developed a substantial market for merchants to sell their wares in Agora within the city center. Today, people are selling goods and services of all types, such as clothing, jewelry, retail display fixtures, and much more directly online. In fact, global online retail shopping stats are predicted to hit 4 trillion in 2020. With advanced technology and the rise of health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what exactly does the future of retail look like? Here are our predictions.
Meeting customer expectations is the key to retail survival in this coming decade, and technology resources could be the ideal solution to help with that. Technology usage and the implementation of automated processes could be a solid future investment for many retail stores. It leads to better operations, faster streamlining, and can ensure the safety of both shoppers and employees by limiting human contact. It is also a way to prove to customers that the retail store is up to date, fresh, and modern, giving it an attractive appeal over stores that do not adopt advanced technology and robotics.
- Improved Sanitation Practices
Retail stores all have their own sanitation guidelines in place, but after COVID-19, those practices are going to be more critical to keep customers returning. People are going to be nervous to step out back into the retail world post-pandemic, so knowing that retailers are being proactive in their sanitation methods, could set comfort within them knowing that they are safe. This could be more frequent cleaning procedures, utilizing fixtures such as our Sneeze Guard and Sanitation Fixture, or maybe even investing in UV light sanitation methods down the line.
Furthermore, employee sick leave processes might become much stricter to prevent illnesses from spreading.
- Store Layouts
Branching off of people still being fearful post-pandemic, that can also dictate how to retail store layouts will look in the near future. Those racks that were once close together may be separated farther apart, dressing rooms may only be used in every other stall, and those temporary plastic dividers from cashiers and customers might be set in place for good to minimize germ exposure.
- More Services and Products Offered
It is a highly competitive market out there for retailers. So, one way they need to compete is to offer more. For example, to fulfill a customer’s needs entirely, a retailer might implement packing, delivering, and expanding the internal duties, overextending the store to meet customer needs. This might result in employee burnout, but it might be the price that someone smaller companies will gamble with to reduce the risk of losing loyal customers to another business who is expanding. This is another tie back to technology solutions, as it could pick up the slack to give customers the best experience.
- Meeting the Sustainable Living Increased Demand
It is no secret that people today are highly invested in prospering sustainable practices to better the earth and wellness of others. With this rise and according to Nielsen, 73% of people will change their buying behavior if it is better for the planet. With that being a solid case, more retail stores might opt for reverse commerce, meaning they sell secondhand apparel and products to help the environment. This can change the way customers view the value of products and may be more susceptible to buying knowing that they are helping a larger cause.
The retail industry has gone through extraordinary alterations and evolutions since it was first incorporated into a societal system to exchange goods for profit. From using word of mouth, to now Facebook ads to attract customers to e-commerce stores, it is no wonder why 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen X people would instead shop online than in an actual store. In summary, no one knows for sure yet what the future of retail will look like, but what we do know is that change is fostering, and with digital innovation and health concerns on the rise, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the end.
If your business is in need of fixtures for post-COVID opening, or have questions about what your storefront should do to take precautions, please reach out! Showbest is here to help make the transition as easy as possible.