Consumers still feel cautious about returning to stores


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Consumers still feel cautious about returning to stores.

The coronavirus outbreak has had severe consequences for retailers and, according to the report, 48% of shoppers are now scared to shop in store as a result of the pandemic. Nigel Naylor-Smith, Head of Retail and Hospitality, Fujitsu UK, discusses why he believes retailers will still need to prioritise their digital offerings to appeal to the change in consumer demand as lockdown measures ease.

With lockdown measures easing and non-essential stores back open for business, a semblance of normality has resumed on UK high streets. But Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a lasting effect on the industry, and consumers are unlikely to change the ways in which they shop overnight. After all, during lockdown, almost two-thirds of UK shopping was carried out online because consumers were fearful of visiting a store. Now that social distancing laws have been relaxed, many will still feel cautious about shopping in a physical store for the first time since March. 

Part of the reason online purchasing has sky-rocketed is because of the convenience it offers, and it’s no secret that many consumers have been flocking to Amazon in their droves for purchases. Other high street brands and smaller retailers need to be taking a customer-centric approach and looking to establish a similarly user-friendly online offering if they are to retain shoppers’ loyalty and drive footfall and sales. 

Looking ahead, it’s likely that more customers will continue to use the same online services they valued during lockdown and retailers must ensure they have the right infrastructure and technology in place to meet that demand in the sector’s ‘new normal’.

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