In 2020, Q4 was a retail season like no other. Many stores were fighting to bounce back from lockdown, so made the most of this shopping period.
Here are three ways that shopping will be different this Christmas:
More online shopping
A clear consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak has been an accelerated shift to online shopping. This behaviour seems likely to continue over Christmas.
- At the height of the pandemic, online purchases made up a third of all UK sales.
- A recent survey found that 70% of shoppers are planning to buy all of their gifts online.
But things aren’t as bad as they seem for the high street. While total online sales grew during the pandemic, sales at online only stores remained steady. This suggests that the growth was the result of customers buying online from their favourite high street stores. In fact, data shows that the pandemic has made shoppers less likely to take a chance on new brands. 86% of consumers are planning to stick with shops that they know and trust this Christmas.
Rather than abandoning the high street altogether, shoppers are favouring an omnichannel approach. This can be seen in the rise of Click & Collect, which customers are using to limit the amount of time they spend in store. Click & Collect is expected to increase 60% by the end of the year, and 36% of shoppers are planning to use the service this Christmas.
VoCoVo Call Points allow customers to call for assistance as soon as they arrive. A message will be sent to all colleague headsets, alerting them to the customer’s presence. They can use their headsets to contact the stock room and check if the order has arrived. We are also in the process of making a waterproof outdoor Call Point so that delivery drivers can let you know when they arrive.
Despite the rise in online shopping, you can still expect a high footfall this Christmas.
- Only 37% of shoppers know exactly what they want to buy, and 28% still prefer to browse in store for gifts.
- 60% of consumers planned to shop early this year, but their plans were scuppered by a last minute lockdown.
This means a busy December is on the cards. Shoppers are still wary of crowded spaces, and three quarters want to see evidence of safety precautions in stores.
Our Call Points facilitate social distancing by allowing colleagues to answer customer queries remotely. Headsets also enable colleagues to take a dynamic approach to crowd control.
Longer opening hours
In an effort to spread out the crowds, the government has temporarily relaxed restrictions on opening hours. Many stores will be opening for longer and some are providing 24 hour shopping in the days leading up to Christmas.
During longer opening hours, there are safety considerations to take into account. 85% of colleagues have suffered verbal abuse during the pandemic, and this is likely to rise over Christmas as queues grow longer and tempers become frayed.
90% of colleagues feel vulnerable at work, and 33% attribute this to working alone. Our products help colleagues to feel safe at all times. Headsets provide a direct channel of communication with security staff, and keypads allow checkout colleagues to call for assistance discreetly.
This Christmas will set the tone for the year to come. The end of the pandemic may be in sight, but consumer behaviour will take longer to change.
We know how hard our customers and colleagues are working to keep Christmas 2020 going. Thank you for everything you’re doing, and we wish you all the best for 2021.