Retail & Distribution

Top 6 current challenges for retailers and their stores

7 October 2021

3 min
Here are six top challenges that retail stores are currently facing due to new customer buying behaviour.

1- With footfall down, make more from every store visit


of retailers have noticed clients come less frequently to stores.


Since Covid struck, consumers have changed the way they shop. Online shopping has gained momentum, seeing a big rise in home deliveries and click-and-collect. Shoppers have also changed where they like to shop, favouring open-air shopping areas and high street stores rather than large shopping centres. This defining trend makes it all the more important for store staff to provide expert service and something extra to encourage shoppers in. It’s important for staff to be able to bridge the gap between online and physical retail: for instance, by offering “endless aisle” services that allow shoppers to access a full range of products even if they’re not stocked in-store. It’s a valuable opportunity to sell more and boost customer satisfaction.


2- Simplify the click & collect process


of retailers believe that deliveries, click-and-collect and drive-throughs are the future.


The pandemic has certainly accelerated a shift towards more services like click-and-collect and e-reservations. The benefits to the consumer, such as a faster shopping experience, are obvious. Although for retailers, there’s a wide range of new processes to sort out that make things easier for your store staff as well. So aside from choosing the right software, you’ll need to lay down certain rules: for instance, notifications for when orders arrive in-store and who’ll process them; or where packages should be stored to serve customers as quickly as possible.


3 – The important reign of convenience


of retailers polled said that Covid ramped up the shift to omnichannel.


More than ever before, omnichannel has become a life-blood for retail. Consumers want detailed, up-to-the-minute information on products, irrespective of the channel. This means retailers having to provide the same level of information, whether shoppers are in-store, or on the brand’s website. For the consumer, there shouldn’t be any distinction between making a purchase online or in a store; and especially when it comes to returning a product. Fortunately, our poll found that a third of retailers believe that online shopping is an effective tool in driving future sales.

4- Contactless is the way forward


say that customers use contactless payment solutions.

Contactless payments were already very popular in some countries such as the UK before Covid but they have really taken off during the pandemic – obviously due to minimising physical contact in stores at a time when people were worried about spreading the virus; but also thanks to spending thresholds increasing in many countries from 30 to 50 euros, giving a real boost. We’d expect to see a lot more mobile payments in future, particularly given that consumers can avoid queuing at busy tills.


5- Personalise customer service


of retailers believe that the in-store experience should be reinvented to satisfy consumers

There’s no doubt that many people still prefer shopping in stores, despite footfall having dropped these last two years. There were plenty of inventive ways of giving people the store shopping experience even when stores were forced to temporarily close, including live-shopping events and video appointments. It’s something that proved instrumental in sustaining customer loyalty and providing a VIP service – and something that many retailers think is here to stay.


6- Also consider the staff


of retailers think the user experience needs to evolve to respond to the future needs of retail.

People still like the personal touch and the expertise that store staff can provide in ways that online never can. There’s nonetheless a definitive shift towards more omnichannel shopping in future, which means that those in the front line need regular training and to be armed with the right tools. As a general rule of thumb, technology only represents only about a third of your concerns. The rest of your efforts should focus on managing change. And to minimise training time, you really need technology with an interface that’s as intuitive as possible. After all, it’s your staff that truly represent the brand.

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