For the last couple of years we’ve featured blogs and articles looking at the state of the retail sector, analysing business success and challenges when it comes to embracing new ways of operating, and discussing the fragile state of the high street.
And this was all before the word ‘coronavirus’ has entered our daily lexicon. If the retail sector was struggling prior to the emergence of COVID-19, then it could now metaphorically be said to be on a life support machine.
The situation as it currently stands is, to put it bluntly, ominous, and we are by no means through the worst of it. We are staring down the barrel of a completely new retail landscape, and it has never been more essential for businesses to commit to mass overhaul and evolution. The world is going to change, and if retailers are to survive, they will have to evolve, adapt and overcome.
It is almost impossible to produce an article that is entirely up to date given that the coronavirus landscape is changing not only by the day, but by the hour. However, we will continue to do all we can to ensure that the news we publish is as up to date as possible, and as relevant to our readers as it can be.
One major story that emerged this week is a report stating that nearly four in five business owners believe that the current crisis will bring about huge changes with regard to how retail properties are leased, the terms upon which deals are agreed, and also will likely involve a mass overhaul in the systems used to keep on top of contracts and licences.
This is something that will not be a quick fix, and will likely require extensive levels of interrogation, and potentially even law and regulation change. This is something we will endeavour to keep on top of as more information emerges.
It is also essential that all retail operations stay on top of changing consumer trends and behaviours, as this is something that is being reported more and more frequently. Recent research has discovered that two in five people (41 percent) have changed their shopping conduct so as to purchase items online that they would traditionally have bought in a store, while almost eight in 10 (79 percent) say they have actively changed how they shop. On top of this, one in three (33 percent) say they have started buying ‘far more’ online than they did at the same time last year.
While most retailers have been quick to adapt to the continually burgeoning online market, it would seem that it will become even more essential to focus on internet purchases going forward, not only in the short term but potentially long into the future.