For the past twelve months, working in retail has been markedly different than before. Masked shoppers are used to seeing reminders about social distance and curbside pickup. Weekend crowds evaporated amidst restrictions and consumer concerns about COVID safety.
Today, however, is a much different story. Nearly half the American public has been vaccinated—and the CDC rescinded aspects of its mask mandate. Even before that, shoppers had begun to return to malls and stores in numbers not seen in months. Retailers such as Macy’s, Home Depot, and Walmart have all had near double-digit percentage increases in sales in the last quarter.
Many in the retail sphere are ready to pop the champagne about all this. The nightmare of the pandemic seems to be lifting. But what happens now? In the last twelve months, there have been numerous phone and tablet launches. Two versions of Samsung Galaxy S10 launched in 2020, and another in January. The iPhone 12 launched in the Fall of 2020, with a purple model still new to the shelves. There have also been two new iPad Pro releases in that time frame.
Now that shoppers are filing back into stores, the question becomes—are retailers ready for them?
For the last year, experts advised everyone to stay away from public places. They warned people not to touch anything, and to prepare for a possible economic catastrophe. But today most find themselves healthy and protected from COVID. They find themselves with a pocket full of stimulus money and a very big craving for something new.
This may drive greater than normal traffic in the coming months, with much higher product engagement. Additionally, the global semiconductor shortage has also made new mobile devices even more precious.
This amped up demand is a fantastic opportunity for retailers. This is your chance make a positive lasting impression by delivering a fantastic shopping experience. Here are some tips that can help your store do just that.
Welcome them back with a great customer experience
During the pandemic, retail didn’t see the kind of downturns that hospitality and travel industries faced. In fact, retail sales rose 6.9% in 2020 versus 2019. But in spite of that healthy increase, twenty-one US retailers went bankrupt in 2020. Consumers were still very interested in spending. They just weren’t interested in doing it in stores. Now, that is set to change. It’s more important than ever to remind your customers of the advantages of shopping in person.
When it comes to shopping for phones, tablets, smart watches, and other gadgets, the advantage lies with brick-and-mortar stores. While websites can make a lot of promises, there is nothing like holding the gadget in your hand. Consumers crave the experience of holding the device. It’s important to merchandise them in a way that maximizes those attributes. Merchants, therefore, must find retail security solutions that don’t sacrifice in aesthetics or customer experience.
Maximize your inventory by reducing in-store theft
With new product in high demand, every single on-hand piece of merchandise is important. Getting that device into a paying customer’s hands is essential. This places even greater emphasis on reducing internal and external theft. Data-driven retail technologies can help give you greater visibility on who accesses merchandise. Not only does this let you investigate theft, it also helps deter it.
Deliver swift customer service
One advantage of shopping online is that there are no lines to wait in. There are also no other shoppers to compete with for attention. As shoppers return to your stores in large numbers, it increases the risk of crowds, lines, and slower service. Making a customer’s in-store sales experience as swift as possible is a challenge.
Smart retail solutions that leverage modern technologies like RFID or IoT can greatly improve your speed of service. These types of tools can remove some of the physical limitations of things like keys or lock hardware, alleviating bottlenecks and improving in-store sales conversions.
Taking Advantage of the New New Normal
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over. But COVID’s slow fade presents an opportunity to savvy retailers. Are you ready to capitalize on the increase in traffic? Are you ready to win back the customers that are flocking back to stores? Consider this your debut. This is your chance to show the world what they’ve been missing over the last twelve months. Show them why they should keep coming back every time the newest phones drop.