Following Boris Johnson’s announcement that it will now be obligatory for all retail staff to wear masks and that all COVID guidelines in shops will now become law with large fines issued to those not adhering, Hayley-Jayne Cone, chief customer officer at appointment scheduling platform, JRNI, comments: “The new laws announced today will alter the retail landscape once again and retailers need to be prepared and able to adapt quickly.
“Having the right technology in place provides a major advantage over competitors in fast-evolving environments. Those retailers that are able to offer virtual shopping experiences or limit the people in store through virtual queuing slots, automated footfall management or kerbside click and collect are the ones that will be able to respond quickly at the push of a button. Combining these with dedicated in-store pre-booked appointments that give time to clean and quarantine items before the next customer will ensure that retailer stays ahead of the game and wins customer confidence and loyalty, whilst ensuring compliance with the changing laws.
“Now more than ever is the critical time to connect with customers in new and inventive ways. The social distancing, queuing and hygiene laws on shopping in-store will encourage consumers to turn even more to digital and reduced-contact ways of shopping, and retailers will need to accelerate their digital transformation. But retailers have to do more than just shift to an online model — they will also need to be able to replicate the seamless shopping experience that customers crave. There was already a massive shift to online before COVID-19 and I am absolutely certain that will continue. Another lockdown or any more in-store restrictions will make it happen faster and with greater decisiveness. Bricks-and-mortar won’t go away entirely, but the retailers focusing on this will need to think in more innovative ways to keep themselves both relevant and ahead of the competition.”
“For as long as COVID-19 is still a threat, retailers will have to continue to adapt. And even after the virus has gone, there will be ongoing economic challenges to overcome for both shoppers and retailers. Those retailers that seize on today’s technologies now will be best prepared for the uncertain future that lies ahead.”