Shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic should be classified an extreme sport.
Throughout the entire shopping trip, from when a shopper enters the mall’s parking area, right up until the veggies are sanitised, scrubbed and safely stowed away at home, the shopper experience is fraught with invisible dangers. And sadly, being in a fight for survival when doing the milk and bread run has become our new normal.
The “New Normal”
comes at a price
According to analysts, a major risk factor impacting retailers and shopping malls globally is actually the lack of appeal that the “new normal” shopping environment holds.
Turns out, the constant reminders to sanitise and wear masks, combined with dark, empty or not-yet-trading stores, really puts a damper on the entire shopping experience.
Who would’ve thought?
All of a sudden, click-and-collect shopping and curbside pick-up, has become much more appealing. In a desperate bid for survival, retailers and shopping mall property owners are embracing the e-commerce trend before the need for physical stores disappears from the consumer’s purchase journey.
However, bricks and mortar stores still have a role to play, especially in South Africa, where shopping is considered a national sport.
Nowadays, for shopping malls to remain relevant in the lives of weary shoppers, merely aiming to lure feet and spend back through large-scale sales and generic Covid-appropriate promotions won’t cut it.
The current sensitive shopper will be shopping around – not only for value and convenience, but shifting their loyalty to malls that are able to provide the experience they remember from a distant pre-Covid era.
” The physical experience of visiting a shopping mall has always been an exciting and anticipated experience, providing entertainment and inspiration.“
for the win
Creating a memorable and emotive on-site shopper experience doesn’t require a complete transformation.
Simply consider these touch points:
Transparent, consistent and compassionate communication and instructions;
helpful, patient and most importantly, humane mall and store staff;
transforming dark, dreary tenant vacancies into fun, inspiring pop-up experiences through quirky visuals, touchless experiences, or via curated co-retailing spaces;
and creating an uplifting and relaxing atmosphere.