HALCO - Supporting A Post-Covid High Street
Social distancing; face masks. Who would have predicted the need for branded hand sanitiser stations? New rules and shopping habits have left the high street in a state of flux. Customers were already changing their habits away from the physical shops and now retailers must work harder than ever to attract them back. To weather the storm, we need an ever-changing circuit of branding, marketing materials and signage to attract and engage customers like never before.
Changing Rules, Changing Landscapes
Local councils are blending entertainment with shopping in mixed-use locations. Similarly, temporary shops and markets are popping up in empty spaces and our shopping experience is increasingly a mixture of online and in-store transactions. Sometimes in a time of change we can find solace in the wisdom of old. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said:
"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man."
In this new reality, a staggering 53% of Brits are less likely to buy clothes in-store since the pandemic, according to a YouGov poll. The response to this from planners is the creation of destinations within our towns.
“I think there is an opportunity for a mixed-usage approach on the high street, where there is less retail but higher footfall with more energy and life because there’s lots of non-retail commercial enterprises; this means, we can start building communities whereas before you just had pure retail,” says Kyle Monk, Head of Retail Insights and Analytics at the British Retail Consortium.
Towns are trying to give us all a reason to visit, which is increasingly about a creating a social occasion with friends and family. Bowling alleys, restaurants and shops sit side by side to blur the lines between entertainment and retail therapy. Like all new ideas, this one will take time to settle into the minds of the British shopper. Exciting, fresh POS & Signage encourages shoppers to relax and spend time in towns. No more rushing back to the car before the parking ticket runs out!
Pop Up To Stock Up
Pop up shops excite customers back to the high street. They’re an extension to mixed-use locations and an energising way to use empty space. Usually in empty shop windows or gaps in shopping malls, pop ups can include art installations, shops and even health centres.
Darren Williams, of Williams Harding Consulting, says he “can see the high street becoming much more reliant on pop-ups, temporary art galleries, temporary drop-in centres, temporary activations in empty shop windows that the landlords support; lots of interesting different ideas for the physical space that probably haven’t been thought of before.”
The joy of the pop up is that they’re only there for a few days or weeks, so they need to make an immediate buzz around them. And with HALCO’s range of Double-Sided tapes and Magnetic tapes you can be confident that pop-up signage takes seconds to install!
The Omnichannel Experience
For existing retailers, this buzz must come from their current infrastructure. “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” isn’t something we would have dreamed of saying just a few years ago, but it gives consumers a multi-channel experience – we can order from Amazon on desktop, mobile and now by voice control. But online ordering isn’t the solution for everyone. BearingPoint found the fulfilment of online orders costs a huge four times more than in-store transactions. Retailers must put up a fight for the high street.
So-called omnichannel retailing lets the consumer travel seamlessly between online shopping and an in-store experience. IDC Retail Insights found that retailers offering this seamless experience saw a 15-35% increase in average transaction sizes from their customers. This may sound like in-store signage is a thing of the past, but it’s actually a key feature of the customer’s experience. Timberland, a clothing and footwear brand, has 34 stores across the UK. It’s introducing the omnichannel experience by tagging its in-store signs with near field contact (NFC) devices. As shoppers look around, they can use their device to find out more information on the in-store products. Since the lockdown, 37% of shoppers value convenience. Omnichannel marketing engages consumers. In short, it gives them a reason to visit the high street.
We’re not sure that Heraclitus predicted the High Street experience, but the river of retail continues its ever-changing journey. Never has there been a better to time to truly listen to customers. What is it that they need this time they step into the river? In-store marketing needs to adapt, be flexible and, above all, engage your customers.
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