It is no secret that 2020 was a tough year for the retail industry. In response to the global pandemic, retail businesses have had to quickly adapt to ongoing health/safety concerns, mandated closures and restrictions, and evolving customer expectations. While countless retailers struggled to remain open in the face of these challenges, the retail industry as a whole is also entering a new year with some lessons to learn from and find success in 2021.
LESSON #1: MAKE SAFETY A #1 PRIORITYOf course, safety is something retailers should always keep in mind, but it’s more important now than ever. As the pandemic continues, many shoppers prefer to have a contact-free experience, with minimal touchpoints and interactions. In response, it is essential that brick-and-mortar stores continue to proactively take action and reassess measures taken to protect both employees and shoppers. From rethinking store layout designs to increasing sanitization protocols, the increased attention on health and safety measures is not going anywhere anytime soon.
LESSON #2: MAINTAIN A PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIAWith more and more time being spent online, and as the COVID era has only proven more in 2020, social media marketing remains one of the best ways to engage with your customers. Even as stores open up and business operations return to normal, the past year has taught us that retailers can no longer rely on just the in-store shopping experience. Shoppers’ first experience with your brand will often start online, so use this to your advantage! There is no cost to set up your own social media accounts, and apps like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to share new products, show off your store’s offerings, and interact with customers on a daily basis.
LESSON #3: BE FLEXIBLE TO ADAPT YOUR OFFERINGS2020 showed us that our customers’ shopping wants and needs can change very quickly. After all, a year ago who would have predicted that face masks and hand sanitizer would be at the top of everyone’s must-have list? Retailers that were able to pivot and diversify their product lines and services are the ones that succeeded. Going into the new year, remain flexible in your offerings, and don’t be afraid to explore new niches and customer segments to keep your business resilient.