At first glance, it might seem that the high street has been severely damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Footfall is down, profits have declined and eCommerce has grown:
- In 2020, retail footfall fell by 39.1%.
- 180,000 retail jobs were lost- 25% more than in 2019.
- Internet shopping accounted for 30% of total sales in 2020, up from 21.8% in 2019.
Our latest piece of research delves into the way consumers feel about shopping in 2021. We asked UK and US consumers to explain their preferences; to what extent has the pandemic changed shopping behaviour for good?
The comeback starts here
Things may not be as bad as they seem. It is important to remember that the drop in footfall has not been a matter of consumer choice. The UK and US have been put under total or state lockdown several times over the past 12 months. Non-essential retailers have been forced to close for weeks on end, so a loss of business is hardly surprising.
What really counts is whether customers will return to stores when restrictions are lifted. With the UK on track to meet its vaccination targets, there is hope that this could happen sooner rather than later.
Understanding customer sentiment in the wake of the pandemic will be essential for restoring consumer confidence. That’s why we surveyed customers from the UK and the USA to find out their thoughts on the future of retail. The results are encouraging.
Over half the people we asked are eager to get back to shopping in-store. But others were less sure, so we asked how they could be tempted to return. Here are the top seven answers:
- Better deals (38%)
- More product choice (26%)
- Faster service (25%)
- Instant access to product information and stock levels (20%)
- Better customer service (18%)
- More in-store services (such as gift wrapping, home delivery, in-store pickup) (14%)
- More colleagues available (13%)
This data proves that customers value human interaction with colleagues. Customer loyalty depends on good service, access to information and availability of colleagues.
It also shows that on both sides of the Atlantic, shopping hasn’t been damaged as much by the pandemic as we might expect.
VoCoVo puts the customer first
Despite the pandemic, customer priorities don’t seem to have changed all that much. Value, convenience and customer service have always been the key to a successful store, and these will remain as important as ever. Luckily for you, these are the areas where VoCoVo comes into its own.
- Call Points allow customers to speak to colleagues without having to track them down.
- Call Points allow you to unman customer service and Click & Collect desks so that colleagues can go where they are most needed.
- Headsets allow colleagues to find information for customers without having to leave their position.
- Headsets speed up the self-checkout process by allowing colleagues to authorise purchases remotely.
- By reducing walking distance and increasing task efficiency, VoCoVo can save you over £550 per store per week. These savings can be passed onto customers in the form of better deals.
These are just a few examples of the ways VoCoVo can improve the in-store experience for colleagues and customers alike. By focusing on these key areas, you can remind your customers why nothing compares to shopping in store.