It will probably take from several months after the COVID-19 to the world of retail completely to its financial health and that the security measures will disappear from the landscape, predict experts.
“More is long, more there are changes of behaviours that are in the process of moving. Buying online will certainly increase, ” warns JoAnne Labrecque, a professor in the Department of marketing at HEC Montréal.
It must be said that the retail industry was already in turmoil before the pandemic, with the rise of online shopping. Also, a number of retailers such as Forever 21, Caroline Néron, Stokes or La Senza have been forced to close or restructure in the last few months.
“This period of upheaval with the COVID-19 will not remove the previous challenges “, responds for its part, Yan Cimon, a professor at the Faculty of administrative sciences of Université Laval. The retailers and owners of buildings will need to redouble its effort to attract new customers when they will reopen.
The food sector and the pharmacies will also have to adapt to the new realities. Buying online could be a reflex for many people wishing to minimize the risk of exposing themselves to the virus.
“If you look at other countries, yes, the normal returns, but it comes back differently,” says Cimon. We can imagine that the measures of social distancing remain, and it will be important for a company to have a transactional site. ”
Some shops may however suffer any longer. “In the areas of arts and travel, is what people are going to feel safe enough to spend it ?” asks Ms. Labrecque.
At the opening of the shops, while juggling with the financial issue, one of the first challenges will be to restore consumer confidence.
The customer experience in-store will also have to meet the new expectations of the people even more connected.
“The modes of payment more remote should remain,” said Mr. Cimon. Already, before the crisis, some of the retailers to the Eaton Centre, in Montreal, focused on payments, the cloud and mobile.
In order to enhance the shopping experience, the artificial intelligence could also gain ground in the malls and shops.
With geolocation, a person could receive on his cell phone promotions, retailers and even fashion tips when she does her shopping, gives as an example Mr. Cimon.
In the short term, the funds in the self-service could also gain popularity in order to limit contacts between individuals.
In addition, the two professors believe that the shopping centres are outdated and have not adapted with the times will suffer further during the recovery of the québec economy.
Less than signs
According to the Conseil québécois du commerce de detail, in the short term, one of the challenges of retailers will be to reduce ” the fear of consumers towards the other “.
The malls will also have to juggle a competition even more fierce for finding tenants.
“There is also the whole question of the shops that will not pass the crisis. Is it going to have an impact on the experience in the shopping centers and the urban arterial ? ” asks the ceo, Stéphane Drouin, who hopes that the initiatives to prioritize local purchasing, such as The Blue Basket, continue.
“The cities and the arteries will have to do a lot of promotion in the post-crisis “, he stressed.
“If I were a retailer today, I would invest a lot in my staff to make sure that when they receive clients, there will be the wow effect,” he concludes.
A few possibilities
- Most cases in self-service to reduce the direct contact between the customers and the employees
- Less money liquid to prevent the transmission of the virus
- More online shopping to avoid the travel
- The artificial intelligence could gain ground
- Several security measures to comply with the rules of social distancing