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The New Playbook for Retail Stores

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Chain Store Age – July 31, 2020

Brick-and-mortar shopping has changed a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. As retailers look to the future, they should expect many of those changes will likely be permanent.

Since its eruption as a major U.S. health crisis in March, COVID-19 has accelerated a number of existing in-store shopping trends, and in some cases, created new ones. Although the pandemic is progressing on an uncertain path with unpredictable results, most retail experts agree the brick-and-mortar trends we are seeing now will continue beyond COVID-19.

“Consumers will demand that retailers focus on customer health as a guiding principle, and that they feel both safe and comfortable shopping or they will take their dollars elsewhere,” said John Rohland, VP of Cambridge Retail Advisors. “We see the entire brick-and-mortar shopping experience evolving as a result of the pandemic.” According to Rohland, as part of their

heightened health concerns in the wake of the coronavirus, consumers will demand brick-and-mortar stores not just maintain the extra sanitation standards and procedures now in place, but make them highly visible. He also foresees shifts in how retailers handle dressing rooms and in-store returns.

“The quantity and type of products that the customer will be allowed to try on will be limited and will need to be sanitized afterwards,” explained Rohland. “In addition, we see retailer return policies changing to not allow high-risk items to be returned, and a process to sanitize those items that will be returned.”

Read the full article: The New Playbook for Retail Stores (Pages 8-10)