Like any crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is a catalyst for change. While we have seen traditional stores suffering from lock-down situations, e-commerce is thriving for primarily store-based retailers as it is for their online competitors. Yet COVID-19 doesn’t only add to shuffling the deck between retail channels – it will contribute to a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. For Francisco Melo, vice president and general manager, Avery Dennison Smartrac, it’s clear that retail as we know it will need to further innovate and ‘touchless’ retail concepts will help brick and mortar stores not only defend their territory but to shape the future of retail.
By Francisco Melo, Francisco Melo, Vice President and General Manager, Avery Dennison Smartrac
Food and other daily-use products are and will continue to be a stronghold for brick and mortar stores, and so are items that consumers like to treat themselves to such as beauty and apparel products. However, faced with a global pandemic reality, consumers might acquire a more ‘distanced’ attitude towards traditional, personal store-floor interactions. They are likely to be more hygiene conscious than ever before, with concerns about what products and materials have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus or other germs.
Hygiene awareness increasing? Touchless is the answer!
Increased demand, product shortages, minimal time to stocktake and the added need for social distancing have really put the pressure on grocery stores and retailers alike worldwide. Coupled with the issue of contamination and reducing the amount of ‘hands’ touching products is raising alarm bells for what the ‘new normal’ retail concept will look like. There is also a shift in consumer expectation for stores to provide solutions for unmanned stores, no-touch deliveries and ‘scan and go’ cashless self-checkout – introducing a new concept of truly ‘touchless retail’. Within that concept, technology is changing the retail game, not just for technology’s sake, but for everyone’s sake.