Tips to Thrive in a Homebody Economy
Consumer behaviors are settling into a new normal, as people everywhere learn to live with the reality of COVID-19 and as more countries reopen parts of their economies. Despite the variance in the virus’s impact across the globe, many retailers are finding themselves learning to adapt to what is being referred to as the “Homebody Economy.”
In most countries, more than 70 percent of respondents surveyed by McKinsey don’t yet feel comfortable resuming their “normal” out-of-home activities. This lends itself to an increased spend in home-centric activities and goods, such as face masks, gym equipment, and various educational tools for children.
While this change may seem daunting, especially for those in the market with non-home-centric goods, here are 5 tips to not just survive, but thrive, in this new world.
#1: Minimize Lines
When consumers leave their homes, they want to do so quickly and with minimal contact with others. Unfortunately, because of many occupancy regulations, customers are instead forced to wait in long lines to enter your store. To overcome this, some retailers are experimenting with technologies such as queue management. For retailers that such technologies would not be a fit, try running time specific ads to bring customers in at non-peak hours, or maximizing your sales floor space to allow for more roaming and less crowding at the checkout.
#2: Create a Seamless Curbside Experience
For many, heading in store is not quite on the agenda. Curbside allows customers to have the best of both worlds, an online shopping experience while still having the chance to head to your store to pick up their purchase. Noting the quick adoption of this solution, many retailers quickly built “hacked” versions and are now seeing holes in the experience their customers are receiving.
A seamless experience allows customers and associates to have a clear communication channel to keep both parties informed, allowing for an efficient experience for customers and associates alike.
#3: Curate Merchandise Layouts With this Economy in Mind
Once customers are in your store, they are looking to find their items quickly and checkout, all while avoiding crowds. In a recent survey by Accenture, over a third of customers feel reconfigured retail spaces are vital as retail moves forward.
“Hot” items such as home learning, home gym equipment, and hygiene products should have their own real estate in your store that is easily accessible to allow for increased foot traffic. Instead of the age-old strategy of placing these items in the back to allow for additional perusing, move these items upfront. Your customers will appreciate the ability to easily get in and out, and this limits cramped aisles for others looking to shop.
Also, ensure your stores are easily navigable with clear markings of where items are located and that items are well stocked to allow customers an efficient shopping experience.
#4: Contactless Checkout
Customers are looking to avoid any direct handoff of product, and both the printed receipt and bag are some of the highest transporters of germs. Digital receipts are a great way to mitigate this handoff while allowing for furthered communications and personalization.
By immediately sending to the inbox, customers receive their receipt before leaving your store, which maintains the instant gratification of a printed receipt. This also protects your associates during the return process by not having to touch a germ-laden receipt.
#5: Optimized Online Experience
More consumers are headed online than ever before. Coupled with a decline in brand loyalty thanks to an influx of options available to them, it is critical your online experience is up to par. In a survey conducted by Oracle, as many as 65% of US consumers said they have tried new brands after sheltering in place became commonplace.
Ensure customers stay loyal to your brand by keeping their interaction with your brand, from start to finish, one they are delighted by. Take the time to make sure your product feed is up to date and easy to navigate. Once customers reach the checkout, allow them to be in control of their delivery by offering clear communications of the status of their product. This eliminates the need for frustrating “where is my order” calls while encouraging return visits to your site via personalized product recommendations and promotions.
While there is no one size fits all model for how to survive the “new normal” of retail, rest assured that by taking the steps listed above your customers will feel both safe and delighted by the experience they have with your brand. Learn more ways to navigate the future of retail here.