By Alicia Nolan, Brand Relationship Manager, GO!


As mentioned in my previous blog, for some time and way before the current situation, shopping in-store is no longer a stand-alone experience.

Click and collect, scan-and-save, and even virtual reality have been popular and prevalent in retailers to provide customers with an enhanced experience.

Virtual reality may seem like science fiction, but retailers have been adapting to new technologies quickly. Beauty advancement pioneer Sephora offers magic mirrors in stores and mobile apps that help consumers visualize what different colours and make-up treatments will look like on them. Beauty is a natural home for AR effects and L’Oreal as mentioned in the blog ‘Beauty After Lockdown’.

IKEA and Wayfair were among the first to use AR for furniture and home goods retailing, letting consumers place and manipulate furniture in their homes.

ASOS made great strides in allowing shoppers to view what clothes would look like on their different body types resulting in a more personalised experience and less returns.

Since UK-wide lockdown and restrictions on movement took effect earlier this year, online retail has shot through the roof increasing to an unprecedented 2.34 billion by June 2020. This means that consumers are much more adept at navigating ecommerce stores and combining the two experiences.

The festive period is on the way, seemingly earlier than ever and with bricks and mortar stores closed for almost half of the peak sales time, it is anticipated that shoppers will be getting their Christmas shopping wrapped up as quickly as possible.

The Retail Bulletin have reported that 78% of customers admit to abandoning checkouts due to long queues, a fact that has only been further exacerbated by consumers’ new reliance on the speed and convenience of online shopping. As a result, it is critical that retailers understand the importance of providing a mobile, omnichannel experience for customers that speeds up the payments process and avoid long queues, whilst still providing the in-store familiarity they keep coming back for.

It is important for all retailers, the successful, the thriving and the struggling to combine the online and in-store retail capabilities to create an omnichannel experience.

Retailers can utilise agencies and third-party support to ensure that their online and physical presence is up to scratch. Now is the time for retailers to address their UX, drive their SEO, digital and social presence and look at POS in conjunction with above and below the line marketing.

The country has taken time to reassess their needs, how they shop and what is important when purchasing.

It is imperative that brands look at their 2021 marketing strategies now and put plans in place to maximise their internal and external expertise and capabilities.

I’m really keen to hear feedback from my network about how priorities have changed and adapted and what is now at the top of the list.