UK retail is open for business. So, what now?

When non-essential retailers in England opened their doors again last month, it signalled the start of the easing of restrictions and our route out of lockdown. 

The retail sector breathed a collective (yet cautious) sigh of relief.

But it wasn’t only retailers who were relieved. Consumers too were seemingly eager to get back into physical stores and start spending. According to figures from CBI, retail sales figures in April were categorised as ‘good’ – not just for the first time this year, but also to the greatest extent since June 2018.

Which is positive news, but there remains an air of caution about what we should expect. A post on Retail Gazette offers a selection of predictions for the sector in the coming months. Here are the key takeaways…

1. Uncertainty will linger

Sales seem positive, but retailers face many challenges. With the in-store experience now involving masks, one-way systems and other restrictions, some consumers could feel anxious about returning to physical shops. After the initial rush, retailers may need to be prepared for a drop in consumer confidence.

2. Online demand will continue

Virtually every forecast suggests that online retail will continue to thrive. The convenience and speed of the online shopping experience are hard to beat and buying habits have changed – possibly forever.

3. Optimism is high…

Consumer confidence has risen sharply, indicating people are ready to get back into bricks and mortar stores. But retail may never be the same again. A combination of online and offline channels can create a more streamlined experience and retailers will be looking to recreate the speed and convenience of online shopping in store.

4.  …but so too is competition

Retail had already become a highly competitive environment in recent years and for some, the pandemic served as the final nail in the coffin. Their error? Not investing in digital and omnichannel strategies as much as they could have.

5. Prepare for the mega experiential stores

With many smaller retail outlets not reopening post-pandemic, we can expect fewer, but much larger stores on our high streets in the future. Successful brands will embrace the experiential offering and make consumers’ visits memorable within these mega stores.

Looking for ways to ensure your brand has a lasting impression on your customers in the post-Covid era? Get in touch with the team at Delta today: hello@thedeltagroup.co.uk.

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