Retailers are Making These 4 Changes Upon Reopening

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect and even disrupt the lives of millions of Americans, retailers are working overtime to understand what changes will need to be implemented once the pandemic subsides and stores are open for business as usual. 

A recent survey of nearly 100 American retail executives across a wide range of industries showed that most retailers expect store traffic to return to normal levels, although they agree that it may take at least several months after reopening for that to happen. The study also showed that retailers are preparing to implement both short term changes to help keep the public safe, as well as long term strategies that may change a number of things about our shopping experience. 

More than 80 percent of retailers reported closing at least some of their storefront locations, and nearly half of respondents said they shut down their in-store operations completely. As stores and other public places begin to reopen in phases, retailers are expecting a number of changes to the ways in which they do business. 

Here are 4 ways retailers expect the coronavirus pandemic is going to change the way we shop. 

Look, but don’t touch

This pandemic is making all of us rethink touching things, including items in stores. Research has proven that the COVID-19 virus can live for days on some surfaces, making consumer goods a hotbed for potentially picking up the virus. As people return to shopping in stores, retailers are paying more attention to how shoppers interact with merchandise, and also their use of common surfaces, such as shopping carts and credit card readers. 

Retailers are encouraging shoppers to use contactless payment methods, and some plan to even hold merchandise away from shoppers for 24 hours after clothing items have been tried on. And expect to see hand sanitizer supplied and encouraged everywhere. 

Guard your personal space 

In addition to being mindful of what you touch, you can expect to see a degree of social distancing to continue for some time to come. Retailers plan to combat this by keeping reminders in place about social distancing, whether that is limiting the number of shoppers in the store at any given time, or direction or separation markers on the floor. Plexiglass partitions at checkouts will also be around for a while. 

A resurgence of local shopping

If anything good has come of this pandemic, it is that more consumers seem to have a renewed interest in shopping with locally-owned retailers. People are consciously choosing to support their favorite local restaurants, shops, or breweries — to help ensure that they don’t go out of business. Retailers are expecting this trend to continue even after the pandemic subsides. 

Everything is virtual 

The pandemic has changed the ways in which we do just about everything. These days, people are doing everything from hosting business meetings to attending happy hour virtually. And while online shopping was already booming before the pandemic hit, many retailers are expecting that virtual experiences will likely continue even after stores reopen. In order to keep up, retailers will need to find better ways to showcase their inventory and allow shoppers to interact with their products online. 

Consumers are sure to be more conscious of their shopping habits, and more purposeful in their purchasing power. We can expect to see these changes and more as stores continue to reopen and are excited to see what the future of retail holds.