How do we tackle retail challenges post-pandemic?

Tuesday September 8, 2020

We all know that the retail industry is changing drastically as we come out of the lockdown. Consumer trends are moving and the way we shop is being redesigned. Many find change daunting, especially in times that feel as uncertain as ours.

As a design consultant, I see this period as an opportunity to be extremely proactive and prepare for the future of retail. We have to work with the changes and see positives in what the results might be. If we don’t have faith, the outcomes are likely to reflect that. So we should plan strategically, but be prepared for the likelihood that such plans will have to change and be continually revised – like the government guidelines that are changing so regularly.

It’s essentially a giant problem-solving exercise. The challenge is so big because retail has been affected at an international scale and none of us have had first-hand experience of retail after a global pandemic. Because of this, we’re creating strategies based on evidence to date, and how we think we should react to it. We’ll all learn from this as we’re all going to experience the changes that will happen. Wrong decisions will no doubt be made, but the only way we can grow is to learn from our mistakes, be aware of the changes we identify within consumerism and have a proactive attitude as we travel towards a retail world post-Covid-19.

I believe that to progress retail we must go beyond the expectation of just implementing safety precautions and cleaning procedures, which feel like temporary and short-term solutions for making consumers feel safer. We need to think bigger, more long-term. Innovations will be key and we should utilise technological developments to our advantage, focussing increasingly upon online sales, social platforms and opportunities that are accessible via smart devices. One solution that’s stood out is MishiPay and its mobile self-checkout technology, where you minimise human contact in stores by scanning and paying for your shopping using a mobile app. This idea is likely to be successful long-term because not only does it make people feel safer, it also makes their lives easier, cutting out hassle and the time spent at checkouts. Ideas like this are what we need in an era of shifting sands – and it’s up to us to make it happen!

Emily George