Retailers take measures to reassure in-store shoppers

published on July 13, 2020

While our top story this morning here in Ontario is the plan to unveil the timeline timeline for the stage 3 portion of the provinces reopening what does that mean for some of the businesses that are trying to navigate navigate reopening right now

Particularly retailers let's get some perspective from far left oh she's the president of HRC retail advisory a longtime industry consultant and executive Farley thanks for being with us and we were talking with Colin

D'Mello of CTV News earlier who said at the end of the day once the businesses get the guidance from the government it's in their hands to figure out what feels right and not everybody goes at the same pace what do you've been

Hearing and seeing from retailers so so I think that retailers actually are this is a true opportunity for them to really redesign their marketing plan and I think it's really it has to be a plan that's extremely nimble what you're

Seeing it really starts with truly being empathetic and to addressing all the different customers needs because at the end of the day all these customers how they feel today they're all at different spectrums in terms of where they are

From from their age standpoint and how they feel about even entering back into the retail environment especially malls and so you're really seeing that customers today are obviously a bit on the nervous side and retailers job today

Is really just to be very open and honest about the protocols they have in place and share those with those customers to really drive them into the store farlow you've come with some examples today for our audience so I

Want to go through some of them individually let's start in the grocery sector obviously those retailers have been quite busy during the pandemic and have gotten a sense on how customers are feeling let's talk about Whole Foods

Which of course is owned by Amazon now what have you seen in how they have communicated with customers so I think they're first of all they have very clear navigation even before you get into the store they put up their

Protocols their expectations you clean your hands before you enter the store and it's a very safe environment they have like everybody else I mean retail I would say that grocery stores truly took the charge early in the air

Early days with the navigation that they have and how their even where they even tell you to stand to pay so it's all you know hands-free in a sense so they've done you know not only Whole Foods but even so B's and blah blahs have done

Such a great job of really building that confidence from that consumer okay that's a good example let's talk about American Eagle which is very well-known name obviously and I think that there's a pretty compelling case for people to

Just buy online right now so if they are going to the store with some of these clothing players what have you seen with American Eagle so that's another great example they obviously as you go in they ask you a bunch of questions around

Where you've been they provide you masks so if you if by accident if you forgot to come with a mask they're actually providing you the mass they're asking you to clean your hands they're limiting the number of people that can come into

The stores when they put you into the change rooms it's almost a touchless environment it's every other change room they're really doing such a great job and the folks that are actually greeting you at the

Door are so excited that they're really building that confidence that you want to go in there and you want to try things on so I think they've really taken the lead and I think with all the benefits that they're providing you as

Well I just think it makes it much more appealing and feel from from a safety environment especially for the younger generations that are going into that store well I'm glad you mentioned the younger generation because a lot of

Times it's not just how we feel it's family units you know I've got daughters and their retailers like justice for example where we used to go there it was it was kind of fun experience to go there but you're

Specifically highlighting justice and Old Navy as examples of you know trying to put people's maybe some of the ease some of the concerns what have you experienced with those two retailers they're those as well because those are

Obviously the I think the difference in those retailers compared to an heir to American Eagle especially on justice it's younger children right so it's really harder to in a sense temper what they do because they just want to run

Into the stores you know and those stores are obviously they have their packed a ton of different items so what you've seen Justus do and they did a great job they really cleared out the space and

They've allowed still for that for the kids too to run around but in a much more safe environment so I really think that you're seeing all these retailers really put their best foot forward in regards to the things to do and I the

Other one that I talked about which was I mean always an impressive retailer is Lululemon they really have a virtual waiting list I think that's such an innovative opportunity because at the end of the day I mean you've seen it

Right there's line there's line ups everywhere and so at the end of the day I give them my cell phone number which is very smart on their hand in that sense from a strategic standpoint and then they text me when when my time is

Ready and when you go in there actually it's completely touchless so you don't even have to open the door to go into the change room and so these are I think this is a real you know I talk about this all the time I think this is a real

Opportunity for retailers to truly try different methods from a marketing from a marketing standpoint and for those that really don't want to be in the store well you know that's why we have curbside pickup that's why we obviously

Have the online that's why in a sense we should be having you know what they refer to as silver hours so you see that shoppers Drug Mart and the and the grocery stores have silver hours that's why a lot of the retailers are

High-touch environments like the apples of the world have appointments so you go in at your own time you get a specified appointment and you can get done what you want to get done because it's all about building the confidence and as you

Know during this pandemic and no different to everybody else every single day is a different day so be creative be nimble as you say hey Farlow thanks very much really appreciate the insight as always far Laros president of HRC

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