Make Room For Change: Here’s How

At a glance

  • Customer behaviour has changed
  • This affects fundamental areas of retail
  • Retail analytics will show these changes in real-time, so retailers can adapt immediately

Global physical retail sales are expected to drop by $2.3 trillion due to lockdowns, according to Research firm Forrester’s ForecastView team.


But while many consumers certainly have lost spending power due to wage cuts or job losses, 43% of Americans opted to make comfort purchases online as reported by Wallethub.


Customer behavior has not simply stopped, it has changed and will continue to do so.


That’s why stores won’t look the same as they did 3 months ago. They can’t.

They must make room for change.


With estimations of the earliest access to a vaccine being mid-2021, retailers must go beyond government-mandated short term strategies and carefully plan to win back customers responsibly.

Fundamental retail spheres that have changed:

📣  Effective marketing

Cleaning procedures used to be hidden behind the scenes, now they perform the important role of in-store branding.


All protective measures adopted in-store, like staff protective gear, are visual signals that you care for your customers.


⏱  Desirable dwell times

Experiential shopping was designed to promote customers to linger longer, but now retailers need to encourage quicker shopper journeys to welcome more customers in a day.


This suits current customer behavior too. Chris Hogue, of customer experience agency LiveArea, notes that “For many people, this will be the first time they’ve been in a relatively crowded space for a month or more.”


He suggests prioritizing convenience, which makes sense after a month or so of forced ‘add to cart’.


“Retailers that can manage to get people in the store, find what they need and leave will be more successful.”


💋  Trialing

Self-serve product testing will finally come to an end. Those common-use rows of lipsticks have given many buyers the shivers for a while now- but this is the final shellac nail in the coffin.


Beauty retailers will increasingly turn to Augmented Reality trial services. Sussing out as many lippies as we want without messy smudges on every inch of skin on our wrists? It’s a win-win!


👁  Browsing

Associates will be of immense importance in connecting shoppers to merchandise in new ways while reinforcing a much needed human connection. 


Take shoe boxes piled up like germ-Jenga for customers to rummage through. 

Friendly knowledgeable staff should bring out the correct shoe size from the storeroom AND ensure the proper sanitization to boot.


Or, retailers can bring these changes to change rooms.

Numbered cards are no longer being handed out to regulate items. Nike’s new fitting room app allows customers to select their size and then prompts associates to make sure the item waits in the change room. It’s a nice personal solution, and a good reason to keep staff.


Lower-end clothing stores have begun to offer booking services for assisted fittings and shopping outings – something previously only found in the high-end fashion stores. Viva la revolución!


📦 Purchasing transactions

With contactless payment tools, money won’t be changing hands. But neither will the items once purchased.


According to Hogue, certain stores will introduce single-try in-store options.

Once an item is bought, an untouched garment or product of its kind will be shipped directly to you. 

Picking your strategy

With so many possible strategies, retailers must carefully analyze their own customer insights make the right decisions.

Here’s how retail analytics can help

Retail analytics solutions that focus on customer behavior can definitely help you identify your risks, highlight customer behavior changes, and give you Day 2 feedback on any changes or new concepts you have made. 


Let’s look at just a few of the benefits that Vision retail analytics can deliver:


  • Social distancing analytics

Extend safe occupancy management beyond the front door to incorporate the entire store. These analytics maintain a real-time people count and identify high-risk areas where people cluster and breaches occur. Use these critical insights to make immediate changes to floor layouts, modify displays, and train staff on best practices. Then, you can see if your changes worked either the same or the next day. It could also help you prove compliance with COVID regulations. 


  • Customer behavior insights

Preferences have changed, affecting where customers frequent within stores and how they want to shop and buy. Knowing who your customers are is the first step to personalizing and optimizing your offering for each precious sale. The comprehensive customer insights across the entire journey help you reassess your customer base to adapt your services, products, and layouts to their ‘new normal’ behavior. Understand where to invest your money in order to get the most return!


  • Staff management

Personalized services, continual sanitization regimes, managing POS and fitting room queues, and ensuring friendly staff-customer interactions are now more important than ever to get right. And despite the increase of contactless retail technology that we will likely see in the very near future, staffing levels and customer service targets will need to be managed to meet these evolving needs and fluctuating demands for services. Retail analytics help you understand how well sales teams are performing, discover new service opportunities, and identify purchase barriers to be addressed.

With so many challenges ahead, you simply cannot be without these valuable customer insights.


Adapt and prosper in the new normal of retail. Measure your success with Vision.