• Play Retail Ltd.

What lies beyond lockdown?

With our non-essential shopping habits curtailed, the Covid-19 pandemic is changing the meaning of retail and causing brands to reconsider their role in consumers’ lives.

To highlight the opportunities that lie beyond lockdown, we sat down with our Commercial Director Scott Mulvey to discuss the impact of lockdown as retail get's back to business.

Lockdown has obviously had a huge impact on the retail sector, but what opportunities do you see emerging?

Opportunity lies in times of crisis! Before Covid-19, big box retailers were breaking down their networks into smaller formats to carry out localised strategies and go urban. DIY retail, personalisation and at-home convenience were gaining momentum. Consumers craving ever more personalised interactions with retailers, asking for their product offerings to be tailored to their interests, with this pointing to a paradigm shift in what was occurring before the crisis; demanding proximity, greater flexibility and customisation, with the retailers who know their customers/dynamics of the markets in which they operate, holding the strongest advantage.

What do you think the longer term effects will be?

When this is over, we won’t shop the way we used to for some time after experiencing supply shortages and going to the nearest supermarket out of necessity rather than preference. People will remember the interactions they have with companies, products and services during this time of isolation, making retail as close to home in both the physical and metaphorical sense, an integral part of the whole shopping experience. Convenience and proximity will become even more important factors when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

What can brands and retailers do now to survive, or even thrive, post lockdown?

The time to take decisive action really is now. Retailers must be more open to adopting digital strategies and speaking to new innovative suppliers about diversifying their converging digital and physical retail strategies.

What if we considered the lockdown as our ramp-up period to prepare for what the future of retail will be like after we overcome this crisis? Because one thing is certain: retail won’t be the same and neither will be consumers, when stores begin to open doors once again.