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Learning from retail and hospitality reopenings

Last month’s round-up of reopening insights proved so popular that we are continuing the theme, reporting on some new shoots of optimism and other stories from across the retail and hospitality sectors.

We hope the following news stories together with our latest ‘take outs’ contribute to the discussions you are having about rebuilding your bricks & mortar, food-to-go and hospitality businesses.

Returning footfall: The latest figures from footfall specialist Springboard show further incremental recovery compared with 2019 and offers a glimmer of hope for retailers. Whether this is due to staycationing Brits or cooling weather conditions, it reflects a growth in confidence from consumers, and retailers need to work harder than ever to reward this returning footfall through great instore experiences, high quality customer service and smart follow-up marketing campaigns. Read more

The take out: Is your instore experience the best it can be? Is it delivering eye-catching VM and an exciting ‘welcome back’ feel to returning customers? How are you tempting them to visit again?

Satisfying changing consumer demand: Jo Causon of The Institute of Customer Service recently called for the retail industry to strike the right balance between human and digital interaction, and to maintain a ‘laser sharp’ focus on changing customer needs. Even before the pandemic there was plenty of research evidencing the need to humanise retail services, but we couldn’t agree more that now is the time to invest in creative thinking and reinvention to satisfy consumer demand and secure a strong and sustainable retail future. Read more

The take out: Do you have the right resources in place to monitor customer feedback and ensure you are keeping on top of changing customer needs?

The impact of Eat Out to Help Out: The scheme has been well received by the public and delivered a footfall boost to not only the hospitality industry but to non-essential retail too. What’s more, pubs and restaurants haven’t even seen a drop off in weekend trade, which they’d feared. But as the scheme comes to a close - and the Government appears not to want to extend it – the news that larger profitable restaurant groups are going to invest in mirroring the scheme will be welcomed. Of course this won’t be affordable for many smaller operators but it shouldn’t stop them from thinking outside the box to come up with innovative incentives to keep that footfall flowing and growing! Read more

The take out: Are you prioritising after sales follow-up to entice those valuable customers back inside again? Can you find affordable ways to reward their loyalty and keep them engaged with your brand?

Lessons from Luxury Retail: This interview with our client Berry’s Jewellers provides an interesting glimpse into the world of a multi award-winning luxury watch & jewellery retailer. It’s an open and honest account of trading during this difficult period with reflections on surviving lockdown, the challenges of reopening without Chinese tourists, and the ongoing importance of bricks and mortar stores for luxury retailers. Read more

The take out: Does the environment of your store, café, pub or restaurant deliver the appropriate customer experience to your target market? What investments are you making to future-proof the physical manifestation of your brand and make you stand out from your competition?

Retail evolution: Subscription based retail won’t work for all but done well, it does offer consumers another way to connect with their favourite brands. This discussion about the need for retail evolution comes at a time when the pandemic is causing many retail operators to ‘play safe’ when retail evolution is what’s really required. Read more

The take out: Are you playing it safe or supporting your senior team to strive for breakthrough initiatives to secure future success?

Digital and physical harmony: Great to see that Majestic Wine achieved success with its online offer during lockdown – no doubt many of us added to its sales!!! Here their Chief Executive talks of an exciting future with an omnichannel service based around stores. Read more

The take out: Do your physical stores and your digital presence work together in perfect harmony? Do they reflect one clear strong brand, sharing the same service values with a channel-less feel?


Building on experimentation: Hobbycraft says it will continue to offer its online demos and workshops that were introduced during lockdown. Great to see that some of the more successful ‘pivots’ that retailers invested in during closure are forming part of new retail strategies. Our hope is that these successes will encourage more retail leaders to embrace a culture of experimentation. Read more

The take out: Are you continuing to enhance and deploy new online/digital services to add value to your customer journeys? Or are there new online services that you could add to your instore experience?


Raising the bar: This current trend of shopping locally should be seen as an opportunity for local high streets and smaller independents to reinvent themselves. Many are doing a great job serving their local population and seeing footfall levels they might not have enjoyed before. The tricky bit lies in harnessing local interest for the longer term, and that means understanding what customers want from their local face-to-face retail and hospitality interactions and going above and beyond to deliver it. Read more

The take out: Is it just convenience that is attracting a new captive audience over your threshold or have you won their hearts and minds to keep them shopping locally? Are you clear about what customers like and don’t like about their experience with you? What changes can you afford to make to win their ongoing loyalty?

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