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Getting back on track: retail reopening insights

With a busy couple of months of reopening experiences to report on, we decided to bring together some of the news headlines that have caught our attention from across the retail, food-to-go and hospitality sectors.

We’ve captured some key news stories below and given you our ‘take out’ insights relating to each one. These cover the things we are addressing with our clients; in fact the things that all business leaders should be thinking about as you rebuild your bricks & mortar retail, food-to-go and hospitality operations. We hope you find a nugget of inspiration to help get your business back on track.

Hospitality research: Really great to see this research which shows that the level of protection put in place by operators of pubs, bars and restaurants is working to build consumer confidence. Interesting but perhaps not surprising, is that consumers are sticking to the places they know well. And with over 90% of consumers reassured enough to visit again, this should be encouraging news for all those venues still to open. Read more

The take out: Are you staying close enough to your customers to secure that daily feedback that will not only help you improve the customer experience but also guide those brand building stories that will entice both repeat visits and new footfall?


Food-to-go success: It seems that despite a half-year loss due to the lockdown, Greggs remain ‘quite encouraged’ by the last few weeks of reopening, with trading already at 72% of 2019 levels. According to their CEO, they are benefiting due to their customer profile as well as store locations. The vast majority of their customers are out and about again because they aren’t furloughed office workers. In addition, their store estate - in predominantly local towns and suburbs - means Greggs are less exposed to the current lack of footfall in quieter city locations. No doubt the picture will improve further after furlough ends but for now Greggs seems to be one of the food-to-go survival stories.

Read more

The take out: Location, location, location! Have you reopened in the right locations to recapture your core audience? Where is your competition doing well?

Retail pop-ups: This is a good read about the value of pop-up stores for retailers and a reminder of the flexibility they offer the sector to trial new concepts, new products and new services, as well as for location testing. Read more

The take out: Are you able to take advantage of any short-term pop up rentals in the coming months to help you evaluate your store development and innovation programme prior to major investment?


Retail evolution: American retail commentator, Steve Dennis, talks about his hope that the Covid-19 crisis will encourage more retail leaders to embrace a culture of experimentation. We couldn’t agree more and it will certainly be interesting to see if those who have long been ignoring retail evolution will now finally invest in retail innovation. Read more

The take out: Has the pandemic triggered fresh thinking among your senior leadership team? What are you doing to capture new ideas among employees and customers to help you evolve your business?


Retail collaboration: This news story is about the sort of initiatives that are needed to boost consumer confidence and footfall during the coming summer months. As shoppers venture out again we are seeing plenty of evidence that they are favouring outdoor locations – retail parks and local high streets - over indoor shopping malls. This sort of collaboration between landlords and local authorities provides great support to the retail and hospitality sectors at this critical time. Read more

The take out: What partnerships and collaborations would work best to support your business? Who and how can you mobilise them?


Watch retail: Good to see things starting to move in the right direction for watch retailers as well as confirmation that when it comes to luxury retail, shoppers still value a face-to-face personal service experience. Read more

The take out: There is much to be learnt from luxury retail. Are their new customer services that you can introduce to your customer journeys that will help to build closer ties with your target audience, and differentiate your brand from your competitors?

Jewellery retail: The CMJ (Company of Master Jewellers) is the largest jewellery and watch buying group in the UK and Ireland, and they recently reported back on the ‘positive shoots of optimism’ from members. Thanks to lots of hard work and adaptation, 50% reported that trading since reopening was better or in line with 2019. Read more

The take out: How are you doing since reopening compared to your competition? Local alliances or membership organisations are great ways for ‘indies’ to share progress, discuss challenges and bring you new insights.


Travel retail: Travel retail will continue to be hard hit by the pandemic for some time to come but this research evidences the need for some ‘fresh thinking’ by brands and operators as they rebuild the travel retail experience for customers. Read more

The take out: Are you making the most of customer and sector research to drive your ‘fresh thinking’?


And last but not least…

Stay fit, stay safe: Team Innovare applauds this latest move from the UK Government. As keen cyclists here in the studio we’d encourage anyone who hasn’t yet dusted down their old bike to take advantage of this repair scheme and get cycling…and no we aren’t on commission from Halfords! Read more

The take out: Have you taken advantage of the Cycle to Work scheme for those employees who want to avoid public transport, get fitter and generally re-energise after lockdown?

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