design:retail - May/June 2020 - 25
HOW COVID-19 WILL CHANGE
MASS & DISCOUNT SPACES
PARTNER & COO
MASS AND DISCOUNT RETAILERS are making considerable
contributions to our country during this crisis. From
philanthropic initiatives, mass hiring, safety efforts,
changes in hours and the creation of testing sites, they
are carrying many of us through this uncertain time.
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will
likely bring a reduction in spending as many shoppers
will be used to living with less, and also potentially
doing less. Like in previous recessionary times, mass
and discount retail will be where consumers look first
for the products and clothing they need to keep their
lives on track.
It's tough to tell what the next normal will be in
a post-COVID-19 world, but as we have said before,
retailers are a resilient group. And for those that have
the strength, vision and courage, there is a future.
Consumers have been telling us for some time that
they wanted more from the places where they shop-
a seamless connection between online and offline
experiences-perhaps this crisis just forced our hands.
Now, we have an opportunity to make that happen by
reimagining the store.
So, how can retailers plan for the rebound? How
can they reopen, resume, restart, relaunch and repair?
They'll need to be agile and adapt as consumers' priorities, behaviors and expectations have changed.
In the short term, retailers are going to have to work
hard to prove to customers that their stores are safe
by meeting the expected new hygiene and social
standards. Find ways to differentiate and signal a
"freshness and honesty" approach to reinforce the
Long term, we expect exciting new retail formats
that merge online and offline shopping. Stores of
the future will need to be far more flexible and work
harder to adapt to changing disruptive scenarios. Be
creative and more responsive to trends-pick-up only
stores, smaller boxes with better BOPIS experiences,
using data to provide truly local service and product
offers, as well as contactless transactions.
Consider several elements of the in-store experience as we move forward:
Exterior: How will stores better accommodate
curbside pickup? This experience needs to be designed and become an integral part of the building, not
Entry: First impressions have always mattered, but
now they're even more important. The retailer can
take advantage of this space to express who they are
and how they have changed from the coronavirus
pandemic. It could be the moment when the shopper
decides if they trust you.
In-store signage: Make sure that you're telling your
story and helping people throughout the store. Retailers
have an excellent opportunity to speak to their customers on a more personal level right now. Transparency
is going to be essential. What measures are they taking
for the safety of their employees and customers? How
have they made changes to align with this new normal?
Store layout: What is the customer experience-is
there consideration for how they will navigate the
store, spacing of fixtures and queuing at service counters? We may need to look at how space within stores
reallocates to fulfillment areas and customer service
as retailers evolve to meet new shopper routines
"Stores of the future
will need to be far
and work harder
to adapt to changing
Merchandising: Fixtures will have to work harder.
Be purposeful in presenting products, telling stories
and providing solutions. For example, stacking products to the ceiling, digging through bins of merchandise and squeezing as much on a four-way as possible
will likely no longer be acceptable.
Checkout: No matter the format or store size, social
distancing in line will require changes to the frontend. The use of technology for automated checkout
is key to moving forward. Contactless payment with
mobile phones or Just Walk Out technology provides convenience for consumers (and efficiencies
There will be consolidation. And having fewer retailers will change the competitive landscape. Some
retailers and brands will potentially emerge stronger
and become deeply ingrained in the consumer's life.
Stores will look and feel very different, but that is
not a bad thing.
Retail was heading in this direction already-the
COVID-19 pandemic is simply pushing the accelerator.
THE ROLE OF THE STORE
O B V I O U S LY, T H E S E A R E unusual times. And while we
are all exploring different hypotheses and engaging in
scenario planning, the reality is that nobody's crystal
ball is that clear.
COVID-19 will no doubt have a dramatic effect on
every aspect of the retail business, especially consumer feelings about in-store events and gatherings,
proximity to sales staff and other shoppers, touching
displays and trying on merchandise, as well as their
general perceptions about what's safe and clean.
Some shifting of consumer trends and market
drivers was already underway, only accelerated by
COVID-19: the movement toward self-care, including
wellness and fitness products, services, and experiences; purchasing shifts within sales channels;
cashless payment systems; and alternative pickup
and delivery formats, such as BOPIS, curbside pickup,
drive-thru, lockers and, of course, home delivery.
The biggest question to be considered-which has
now been heightened by the virus-is, "What is the
role of the physical retail store going forward?"
* Does physical retail become primarily a multifunction hub offering limited services and
product demonstrations with a small-footprint and
* Does it encompass technology-focused services
that digitally curate a collection of options, provide
body scanning for sizing, and allow customers to
virtually "try on" clothes for style and color?
* Will customers visit stores by appointment only,
raising service quality while limiting the number
of people in stores?
* Will epidemiologists and public health experts be
added to the design team?
The SARS outbreak in China in 2002 prompted
Jack Ma to shift Alibaba's focus from a B2B proposition to a B2C. Today, we are witnessing the creativity
of individuals staying connected while being distant
and "caremongering" on both large and small scales,
demonstrating that while we are consumers, first and
foremost, we are human.
What we can anticipate with accuracy is that the
virus will do what it's going to do and consumers are
going to do what they're going to do, although exactly
how that will play out is unknown. Staying close to
your customers via feedback loops and research is
now more important than ever.
design:retail - May/June 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of design:retail - May/June 2020
design:retail - May/June 2020
From the Editor
On Trend: Retail in the Pink
Spec Sheet: The Great Outdoors
Interactive Spaces: Razer
Plugged In: adidas
Perspectives: Everything I Learned from Being a Designer at Amazon
SPECIAL REPORT: POST-PANDEMIC RETAIL
CANNABIS RETAIL ROUNDUP
40 UNDER 40
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Intro
design:retail - May/June 2020 - design:retail - May/June 2020
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Cover2
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 1
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Contents
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 3
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 4
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 5
design:retail - May/June 2020 - From the Editor
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 7
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Happenings
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 9
design:retail - May/June 2020 - On Trend: Retail in the Pink
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 11
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Spec Sheet: The Great Outdoors
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 13
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 14
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 15
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Interactive Spaces: Razer
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 17
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Pop-Ups: Backcountry
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 19
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Plugged In: adidas
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 21
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Perspectives: Everything I Learned from Being a Designer at Amazon
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 23
design:retail - May/June 2020 - SPECIAL REPORT: POST-PANDEMIC RETAIL
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 25
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 26
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 27
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 28
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 29
design:retail - May/June 2020 - CANNABIS RETAIL ROUNDUP
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 31
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 32
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion1
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion2
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion3
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion4
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion5
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion6
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion7
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Trion8
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design:retail - May/June 2020 - 35
design:retail - May/June 2020 - 40 UNDER 40
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design:retail - May/June 2020 - 47
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Moment
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Cover3
design:retail - May/June 2020 - Cover4