Retail & Distribution

Post-Covid: A global overview of how retailers around the world are trying to get sales back on track

16 June 2020

4 min
While the pandemic has caused havoc around the world, retail has tried its best to weather the storm. Read 9 initiatives from some of the world’s most well-known brands to understand what they’re doing to reassure customers and employees and help boost sales.

China: L’Oréal lays foundation on video streaming

Live streaming was already proving popular in 2019, and Covid-19 has accelerated its uptake. According to Baidu, requests for live streaming have increased from 5, 000 in 2011 to 50, 000 at the beginning of 2020. Reports have indicated that the Chinese watched an average of 120 minutes a day of live streaming during lockdown, including Alibaba’s Taobao Live platform and Red Livestreaming, where L’Oréal chose to showcase its products on the 18th of March and distribute goodies and coupons to boost views. A department store retailer, Intimate, also broadcast over 200 videos a day pulled together by various different brands, showing new and inventive ways of driving sales.

France: Galeries Lafayette launches Exclusive Live Shopping

Another department store, Galeries Lafayette in France, also used live video to help launch an Exclusive Live Shopping service, where exchanges with the store’s personal shoppers are made possible via video. Products can be chosen and confirmed by email with online payment, ready for either home delivery or Click & Collect.


South Korea: Shopping alone in Lotte department stores

In South Korea, Lotte, one of the largest department store chains, now offers its customers a shop-alone service. It’s aimed at customers who do not want to be disturbed at all during their shopping visits and don’t want any assistance. All they need to do is take a specific basket, or wear a sticker distributed at the store’s information point, or near the escalators.

France: Drive-in facilities take hold for non-food retailers like King Jouet, Okaidi and Gémo

The drive-in option in France for ordering your food shopping online for pick-up outside supermarkets is now finding its feet in non-food retailing, after being introduced at various general merchandise and apparel retailers too – including at Okaidi, Gémo and King Jouet. The ‘takeaway’ service is proving popular with customers, not least because it ensures a quick and contactless service and avoids wasted trips to stores that turn out not to have what you were looking for. Customers can see exactly what’s in-stock online, order it, then store staff can prepare orders using mobile POS and send a notification for when to pick up the order and put them directly into the boot of your car.

Canada: Best Buy goes cashless

Best Buy Canada has stepped up in-store measures to reassure customers about health by no longer accepting cash and favouring contactless, digital payments, as well as installing large sheets of Plexiglass to create a physical barrier and limit exchanges.

USA: Lacoste delivers personal shopper and Street & Collect service

The apparel brand, Lacoste, has been displaying QR Codes to flash up in US store windows and allow customers access to the store’s stock, as well as informing them about additional sanitary measures. It means consumers can order directly from the street, while sales teams prepare the order and then go out to hand over their purchases in front of the store or put them directly into the boot of their car. VIP customers have also been presented with a new personal shopping service so they can make contact via video, or make individual appointments outside of normal store business hours.



France: Yves Rocher keeps sample products and testers safe

More social distancing, protection and disinfection are the three main principles applied by the Rocher group for all its brands. For Yves Rocher, this means controlling the flow and direction of people passing through their stores. But it’s also forced the beauty retailer to do away with testers and sample products on display that people can try before they buy. Instead, staff are available to show off any products and disinfect them afterwards to avoid the risks of any contamination.

USA: Gap shifts to Ship-from-Store and Click & Collect on the sidewalk

The Gap Group is starting to reopen over 800 stores under the Old Navy, Athleta, Gap and Banana Republic brands, but it’s also accelerating a shift towards more click-and-collect and using its stores as logistics hubs in their own right as consumers increasingly shop online. This boosts the number of shipping points around the country to over a thousand, while its click-and-collect service now means you can quickly pick up a purchase in your local store without actually going inside – an employee hands it over in front on the pavement.

Singapore: CapitaLand shopping centre applies anti-bacterial agent

A shopping centre in Singapore has resorted to spraying surfaces with a special anti-bacterial agent – similar to anti-viral treatments used in hospitals – in an effort to prevent the coronavirus from sticking around. In France, the supermarket chain Intermarché has also tried similar treatments to reassure customers and staff alike.

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