Retail’s New Normal: 6 Ways Brands Can Adapt

Retailers have wondered how the COVID-19 pandemic will shape the future of retail stores, and that concern has intensified with the approach of the holiday shopping season. Online platforms have steadily increased their share of holiday shopping well before the pandemic, and data indicates that there will be a dip in holiday spending altogether in 2020. COVID is a big contributor, as 51% of respondents to a Deloitte survey on the retail season reported feeling anxious around the in-store experience.

Anxious or not, shoppers fatigued with shutdown orders are seeking retail therapy. The retail sector has already recovered to 50 percent of its pre-COVID levels. As marketing firm Zenreach puts it, this recovery despite consumer anxiety is a strong testament to the quality of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. However, ensuring your brand gets a sizable slice of in-store traffic despite the overall smaller pie will require adaptability. Retails will need to make the shopping experience safer and connect those efforts with shoppers’ experience in the retail environment.

Safe Shopping During the Pandemic

1. CLEAN SMARTER

While some retailers may outsource cleaning work to professionals, others may find they can save on costs — while better supporting their staff — by investing in new tools. Automating some portions of the surface cleaning routine can reduce the time spent on the most monotonous cleaning tasks. In some cases, autonomous tools can also more consistently ensure a thorough clean. And, in the case of Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics, developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, a subscription service also makes this choice cost-effective.

2. ADDRESS VENTILATION AND FILTRATION

Filtration — or cleaning the air of potential viral particles — is another important step. Your HVAC contractor may recommend more protective filters at the source of heating and cooling. Regular vacuuming of hard surfaces with a HEPA filter-fitted vacuum adds another layer of protection by capturing these miniscule viral particles and the dust and dirt to which they cling.

3. RETHINK FLOW

4. TOUCHLESS SOLUTIONS

Marketing a Safe Shopping Experience

5. PROVIDE TRANSPARENCY

The flow of information should also emphasize shopper convenience. For example, grocery retailer Wegmans has installed outdoor cameras at high-traffic stores to track foot traffic. That information is shared online with customers to help plan their in-store visit.

6. EDUCATE CONSUMERS

Sharing data around store cleanliness becomes even easier when working with a tool like Whiz. The autonomous vacuum sweeper tracks the square footage vacuumed each day and keeps a log each time a space is vacuumed. Whiz also provides analytics and actionable insights, and provides customers and employees a visible proof of cleanliness.

Contact SoftBank Robotics to learn more about how automated cleaning technology can help your brand boost confidence in your retail environment.

Data has never been more powerful — or more practical — as companies prepare for a safe return-to-work. Navigating the uncharted waters of a global pandemic, company leaders have had to make difficult decisions with the information available to them. Now, as case counts in the U.S. break records on an almost daily basis and promising vaccines meet critical milestones, the question of when and how to bring employees back to the office is top-of-mind for business leaders, and data is helping them prepare more effectively.

Written By: SoftBank Robotics Team

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