The pandemic has forced many established and renowned retail brands to take extreme measures to survive. However, it would be unfair to pretend that all the issues experienced by the retail sector are linked to the pandemic. While the covid situation accelerated the breakdown of the retail sector, well-established and renowned brands have been struggling for several years already. Brands such as Wet Seal, Payless, and The Limited filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017. Chapter 11 essentially allows the organization to continue operating while proceeding with a reorganization plan. The pandemic has driven many brands to seek protection from creditors or even go into administration. But the retail sector was already on the way to a crash down before that. Is there a way to revive it in a post-pandemic environment?
Reconsider accessibility infrastructure
There are many reasons why people choose to shop online, even before the pandemic. Convenience is one of the most commonly quoted explanations for choosing eCommerce purchases over the high street boutiques. There is no denying that opening hours can play a significant role (more of it below). But another element of making the retail sector more convenient is to think about the accessibility infrastructure. A lot of boutiques and shopping malls have already taken measures to make their premises accessible to individuals with disabilities and families with children joggers. However, streets and pavements could still do with improvement works. New road infrastructure could be disability-friendly, ensuring wheelchairs, joggers and authorized vehicles have plenty of space to navigate and park comfortably.
Bringing more late-night shopping solutions
The main issue about shops is that they tend to shut when everyone finishes their workday. Customers are more likely to turn to online stores that remain open 24/7. Introducing long opening hours could tackle those customers who want to shop after work. Thankfully, shopping malls and shopping districts already have high-quality lighting to make the area safe after dark. But it could be helpful to communities to consider partnering with professionals and upgrading their local public lighting systems – quality installation and electrical repair from Pro Circuit, Inc, for instance, could bring forgotten areas back to life after dark! It goes without saying that prolonged opening hours will mean hiring further guards and staff to maintain safe manned sites. CCTV is also a must.
Make it convivial
Shopping can be exhausting when you have to spend several hours on your feet. It’s no surprise that couch shoppers prefer the comfort and coziness of their homes! But introducing more relaxing areas into your stores could make a huge difference. Water dispensers, for instance, could help shoppers to hydrate on the go, which means they don’t have to exit the shopping area. Planning restaurants into a shopping mall may not be wise as visitors may not have the right mindset to enjoy the experience. However, small bistros, cafe shops, and snackeries could do wonders to refuel and relax tired shoppers!
Embrace social media love
Last but not least, pandemic restrictions have forced shops to transform their interiors. It could be beneficial for brands to think about making safety Instagrammable and attractive by creating a retail decor that reduces risks without putting off shoppers.
Will these changes help revive the retail sector? It’s hard to tell. However, it makes no doubt that the retail industry needs to change and adjust to the needs of its customers. Without transformation, there will be no chance of survival.