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1024 683 Nicki Smith

Life after lockdown – what does the future of retail look like?

We have been reflecting on what life after lockdown now looks like for many businesses, as the gradual lifting of restrictions continues. 

In particular, the way people shop, both now and into the future will have changed dramatically as retail companies have faced huge challenges across the industry to adapt to the country-wide lockdown. It has also seen the demise of some big bricks and mortar stores.

KFA Connect believes that retail businesses will need to sell and increase their range across as many sales channels as possible in order to improve chances of survival.

With the after-effects of the lockdown and phased return to work, many retail stores will remain closed or sadly go out of business altogether. In addition, the average consumer is still unlikely to go to the shops unless they need to. With social distancing remaining in place indefinitely and shoppers not wishing to join long queues for clothing stores, it’s time to consider the long-term effects.

The likelihood is, that people will continue to buy online from the security of their homes for a long time to come.

Online sales are on an upward trajectory with no sign of slowing down and the lockdown has changed the behaviour of the population with little chance of it reversing. It is imperative that businesses look to sell and increase their range online as soon as possible, as a surge in sales post-lockdown is too risky to rely on. The change in behaviour is evident in the noticeable increase in online ordering for our e-commerce customers, with some seeing a 60% increase in online sales during the lockdown.

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Another challenge retailers continue to face is the sudden increase in pressure on deliveries. Additional online ordering means companies must be able to switch between couriers easily and to mitigate this we strongly suggest the use of software systems that integrate with multiple couriers. This will ultimately offer more flexibility to enable a business to run efficiently and eliminate any internal process issues.

There has been a huge variant in the way retail companies have been able to respond to online ordering, from some small businesses opening only 1-2 days per week to large high street chains capping daily order numbers, to the likes of Amazon reportedly reaping an $11,000-a-second during the lockdown. Whichever way you look at it, it is a sink or swim situation and while online order numbers remain high for those with e-commerce options in place, businesses still need to understand the best way to manage them.

KFA Connect is advising these businesses not to lose sight of the long-term, and embrace technology more than ever, as you truly never know what is around the corner.

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