The retail landscape changed during the pandemic, but are physical retail stores in 2022 making a comeback?
Surveys that we conducted this year show that customers want to return to in-person shopping. The growing vaccination rate has boosted confidence, with 43% of customers saying they want to return to non-essential stores. Yet, continued concerns for health and safety are holding them back. You can read the full consumer shopping habit whitepaper here. We take a look at why there is still a need for physical retail stores in 2022.
Retail industry expecting to double store openings in 2022
In a recent article, The National Retail Federation stated that:
“The number of store openings will double the previous year’s closings during the third quarter. An optimistic outlook for the return to physical stores. This includes the opening of stores by online-only retailers.”
This shows that retailers should have a strong focus on growing foot traffic at the beginning of the year. In fact, we spoke about this in one of our recent articles: 5 predictions for the retail industry in 2022. The question remains though, how are you getting shoppers in? And how do you show them you care about their safety?
During the last 2 years, health and safety has been a constant concern. It has been a major challenge for many retailers, and our survey showed that 19% of consumers feel that it will be a worry for years to come. During the pandemic, 53% of those surveyed said that they would leave a store without purchasing if they saw line-ups and 42% of customers still worry about lines when returning to stores post-pandemic. This concern is up 36% from 2019 before COVID. With retail stores in 2022 expecting industry growth and coupled with evident labor shortages, retailers need new solutions to get customers into their businesses. And once the customers are there, stores need to find ways to balance their shopping needs and safety.
How Qudini can help retail stores in 2022
The pandemic has changed the way people shop with a move to efficiency and convenience. Qudini provides retail choreography software that is already helping businesses provide amazing service options to their customers. We can help retailers manage safe, convenient and premium customer service that drives foot traffic, sales and loyalty.
- The Qudini Appointment Booking system lets retailers give their customers the opportunity to gain information or browse products, at a time that works for them. This, in turn, helps you to coordinate staffing schedules right in our software.
- Qudini can also help speed things up for busy customers with curbside pick-up and virtual queuing management. This can give you scope to help them find any other products they might need, and increase your sales margins.
A return to in-store shopping gives retailers the ability to control the customer experience.
In-store retail can offer renewed ways to connect with the shopper, and that customer gets to experience the product firsthand. This is something online shopping can’t compete with. You can read about how senses can enhance the customer experience in our guest article written by Gastón Tourn, the CMO of Appear Here. He talks about how physical space is media, and an opportunity to use all 5 senses compared to online retail.
The shopper wants to return to stores, which means there are many opportunities for retail stores in 2022 to drive sales. Customers want to speak face-to-face with experts and to browse and touch physical products. But, safety and convenience need retailers’ consideration. Customers want to know they can shop when it works for them, with no added risk to their safety, and will still expect the excellent customer service provided to them in the past. For retailers to compete, they need to act now. In order to retain their customer base, they should implement software that supports their customer’s needs, all while keeping overheads low and increasing sales margins.