Once upon a time, the high street was bustling with people and brick and mortar shops were basking in success, blissfully unaware of the digital hurricane headed their way. When the hurricane hit, some survived, some succumbed. After some turbulent years, the retail industry had a lightbulb moment: “We need to sell experiences”! And so began the building of interactive stores, insta-worthy premises and royal scale customer service.
Virgin Holidays rolled out a VR installation to see their destinations, Vans built their customers a skate area, and anyone who has gone into Lush will have seen a soap demo or two. The industry was just getting the hang of experiential retail when 2020 said “You thought!” and back to the drawing board it was.
Fast forward to today, and the story is still writing itself. So far, we have seen in-store hygiene solutions, quarantining of merchandise and the newly enforced mask law. As with the technological disruption, the post-virus market will reward adaptors and opportunists, while the stubborn mules and stiff dinosaurs won’t be able to keep up.
So far, one clear winner has emerged: the nimble e-Commerce. Experienced online shoppers are spending more money, while unexperienced ones have braved their first online purchases. Just in the UK, 65% of shoppers admitted to buying more online than normally during the pandemic! An entrepreneur will quickly do the math: more customers = more money to be made.
Oh, and if anyone was waiting for a supernatural sign to set up shop online – this is it.