The majority of 2020 has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic; and even with the outbreak being brought under control, the global economy continues to suffer. Many industries have been devastated by COVID-19, with luxury brand retailers being hit particularly hard. Now as those retailers transition from survival of mandatory closures to a slow reopening, they are forced to balance legal compliance with customer comfort.
It has been months since consumers were encouraged to stay away from stores. Convincing both customers and employees that it is safe to return will be as important as following the legal requirements. Fortunately for luxury retailers, the customer experience has always been a key part of their business model.
With movement being limited and social distancing rules in effect, it is likely that luxury retailers will move towards implementing a more streamlined and comfortable e-commerce and online shopping experience. This will be an important part of their business as slow tourism will continue to decrease spending trends at brick-and-mortar locations.
With consumers choosing to remain home and shop online, retailers should really start considering the expansion of their virtual services to help bring the experience of personalisation to online buyers. Employees may be able to provide such services for clients by phone, messaging platforms, or even video calls.
Things such as reviewing policies, safety measures, and maintaining social distancing during these trying times are a given to improving the customer experience at retail stores. However, all of these safety efforts will be for naught if they aren’t effectively communicated to customers.
This communication will assure customers the retailer is employing safety and sanitary practices and provide guidance for customers that they need to follow to when visiting the store. This communication can take many forms: website updates, social media posts, emails, signs at the store, verbal instructions from employees, and in-store announcements. The message itself should be clear, concise, passionate and considerate.
While the principles of great customer experience still holds true, COVID-19 has definitely changed somewhat in the age of COVID-19. Those retailers who can make customers feel safe to shop will likely find themselves making a quicker comeback in the coming months.