The new normal post Covid-19 in Retail. Can we prepare for the unpredicted?
Time to consume: 3 min
20 May 2020
Lots of studies have shown increased shrinkage in retail after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. For the years coming after that, long term unemployment and increased segregation has been the drivers behind a more organised shrinkage hitting new records for every new period. Today, question arises what permanent changes we will see in the post Covid-19 society. How will this create requirements and demand in terms of optimal flow and loss prevention? Can retail solutions provide answers to that? For instance, how do we create social distancing in stores in a natural and convenient way without losing footfall or turnover?
Guidance into the future of retail
From dialogue with retailers worldwide there is a focus on long-term and maybe even permanent changes on the so called “new normal” post Covid-19 society. We could easily speculate that better customer experience will probably become even more important in terms of improving service and flow, decreasing queues, saving footprint while creating a more spacious environment, and saving time for the consumers. Attracting and keeping consumers in the physical stores and increasing turnover will become even more important, especially in grocery retail, since competition from e-commerce will gain even stronger tailwinds.
In this, even more competitive retail environment, operational excellence or operational efficiency will also remain as one of the key challenges and targets for retailers. The increased turnover and profitability as well as creating better service and customer experience needs to happen from a strategic perspective whereas front end of the store with checkout solutions and entrance/exits will be of vital value.
Trying to “survive” this huge crisis which is unlike anything the world has ever seen in terms of global spread, we still don’t have a real understanding of its economical and socio-cultural consequences. But we can see that millions of people risk facing long term unemployment after the crisis. This may in its turn create a greater risk for increased segregation and poverty for some parts of the societies, which makes it even more important for retailers to adapt and find ways for operational efficiencies, increased turnover and improved loss prevention. With broader usage of self-checkouts and advanced conventional checkouts, the total front end with entrance, checkouts, and exit will be the heart of the store where these gains can be created.
The gates and guidance solutions shall help the retailer create an optimal flow that enables the staff team to focus on providing better service instead of shrinkage. At the same time, the consumer can feel welcomed and chose a checkout solution of their choice, without staff interaction unless they want to.
Securing business while securing customers’ and colleagues’ health
To have a close cooperation with retailers around the globe is very important, in a crisis like this, for finding common solutions to secure safe shopping without losing focus on the most convenient flow. Virtual queue management systems together with automatic gates with integrated temperature control, customer counting sensors connected to digital signage are some of the solutions that can make a significant change on the daily operations of e.g. a grocery store. It is equally important to take care of both staff members and consumers in the physical store during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
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