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Thanks to covid-19 sending the world into a global lockdown, meant we have had to rely on online shopping since we haven’t been able to go into a physical store. With brands reopening their stores, they are all reassessing the stores purposes well as monitoring consumer behaviour.

In the past, having a flagship store on a street would have dominated people’s attention and attracted more people, especially in a city full of tourists. Think of London, they will have more stores than anywhere else that are built to engage with their customers, and that is one of the stores top priorities. Before providing customers with a unique experience that they would only experience in your flagship store with ‘instagramable’ visuals, however after covid-19 we won’t be able to have the same experiences we had once, now we need to tailor it to a post covid-19 world.

Now retailers need to somehow make that experience even more magical. Shoppers now are less likely to spend a lot of time in a store, than they previously did. Now you have less time, but still need to give your target audience a reason to want to come back to your store.

If the right tactics are used, they can be used to promote the business on an even bigger scale, or perhaps be used to create a personalised experience for the customers. With the emergence of 5G, this could be a powerful tool here in the UK and overseas. Having 5G could be used to gather more unique insights on each and every customer and use it to refine merchandising and promotions, both in the stores and online, as well as experimenting with facial recognition and VR or AR enabled services.

Expert Jean-Emmanuel Biondi has said that “the future is knowing who the customer is on a personalised level, not a segment level, so I can push specific promotions as you walk by the aisle of your favourite product or products that you’ve bought multiple times in the past.”

Stores are now being creative with how staff and customers interact. Sephora took a lot of inspiration from Korean beauty brand Innisfree, where customers select a coloured basket that tells the people working in the store if you need help or if you want to be left alone. Shoppers now have these options to help them feel more comfortable, however a lot of shoppers still feel uncomfortable with the idea of going back into stores, 48% of shoppers to be precise.

Physical stores will never leave us. However in a world recovering from covid-19 and being on lockdown for all these months, we need to readapt and rethink the way we use stores and get creative with that space.

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