The welcome reopening of physical retail stores following the COVID-19 lockdown period will set us on a journey of recovery for our sector and the economy overall. Our teams are courageously contending with many challenges as a result of the pandemic. This document outlines some best practice guidelines and checklists to help you and your staff to prepare for this important reopening and recovery period.
Equally, there are some powerful legacies we can create as a positive part of our new normal offering to customers.
Being omnichannel has never been more important. Online and mobile shopping are now a standard part of daily business, as our customers expect a range of choices as to how they engage with us. We know that nearly half of Australians have decreased their use of cash when making purchases in person because of coronavirus fears around cash handling, with most Australians agreeing contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay. A quarter are now using their mobile phone to pay. Many are using some form of self-checkout frequently. Alongside growth in home delivery, innovations such as click and collect are helping to ease in-store congestion, save time and offer great customer convenience. In time, we expect more smart stores will emerge here as they have around the world, offering improved efficiency and safety within the stores. Retailers are used to adapting to customer expectations. However, the pace of change during COVID-19 has been unprecedented. The growth of digital and smart store operations will ultimately help many retailers gain fresh customer insights, and eventually provide customers an even more personalised experience. We expect this recovery period will be slow. There will be growth opportunities, and in some cases some pain still to come. However, we are confident our retail sector will emerge even more vibrant than ever before, with a focus on the very best customer offerings and locations to maximise the opportunities.
We look forward to working with you to make this a positive period for staff and customers and that’s what these guidelines are all about.
Paul Zahra, CEO Australian Retailers Association
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