Industry | 16 JUNE, 2020
Here's how fashion retailers are safely reopening stores post-COVID-19.
As governments look to further ease restrictions, more retailers are reopening in the next months. In a recent survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, 77% of consumers said they'd feel comfortable going to non-essential stores within two months of them reopening. With retail experiences moving from "high touch" to "low touch", let's look at what retailers are doing to keep shoppers safe when reopening their stores.

1. Hand Sanitizer at the door, Social Distancing, Quarantine clothes for 24 hours

Social distancing, maintaining hygiene, and avoiding close contact. These practices have become part of our new lifestyles, and are also integrated into retail shopping experiences.

  • Hand Sanitizer at the door: Newly decorated stores should have an additional concierge in the form of hand sanitizers. Customers must sanitize themselves before stepping in.

  • Social Distancing: To avoid close contact between shoppers, it is the responsibility of retailers to ensure that customers stay six feet apart. To further ensure minimisation of contact, retailers such as John Lewis are introducing appointment-based shopping.

  • Quarantine Clothes for 24 hours: It is still uncertain how long covid-19 can linger on items like clothes. Retailers such as Gap will quarantine all returned clothing items for 24 hours before putting them back on the sales floor.
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2. Plexiglass at checkout counters

Checking out often requires close contact between shoppers and cashiers. To allow for a safe checkout, retailers are installing plexiglass at their billing stations so as to avoid contact between both parties. This is inspired by safety practices put in place by large chain retailers like Walmart, Target and Krogers.

Stephanie Cegielski, an ICSC spokesperson, said she predicts non-essential retailers will borrow from some of the safety practices Walmart and Target have put in place over the last six weeks, like installing plexiglass shields at checkout lanes, providing masks and gloves for all employees, and capping the number of people inside the store at one time based on square footage. But things won't be the same for every retailer across the board, she said.
"Curbside will be paramount to our success"
Tom Nolan, Kendra Scott President
3. Curbside Pick-ups

With the pandemic, curbside pick-ups adoption has since accelerated beyond food and groceries. Shoppers can purchase products online and then arrange to pick up their purchase at the physical store. Upon arrival, retail staff will proceed to drop the package right in the bonnet of the car. This allows consumers to easily get the items they want, while practicing social distancing.

The number of orders placed online and picked up at bricks-and-mortar stores by customers surged 208% between April 1 and April 20 compared with a year ago, according to data pulled from Adobe Analytics, which measures the web transactions of 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S.

Retail fashion, beauty and home decor brand Kendra Scott has picked up on this and is turning to curbside pick-up for 21 of its 23 Texas-based store locations after shutting all 108 of its stores in mid-March. The brand has been working toward converting all of its retail stores into mini fulfillment centers.
4. Closure of fitting rooms

A recent survey conducted by First Insight - a predictive analytics company, has revealed that nearly 65% of the women said that they would not feel safe using fitting rooms. John Lewis recently announced that they will be reopening 13 of their shops on a trial basis and fitting rooms will be temporarily closed. This, coupled with the closure of fitting rooms by other leading fashion retailers such as Gap, H&M and Mosaic Brands, have highlighted the importance of a contactless shopping experience in ensuring a safe shopping environment for shoppers and staff alike.
5. Leveraging contactless technology

Covid-19 is also bringing contactless technologies such as contactless payments and contactless try-ons to the forefront of retail shopping experiences.

According to a new research by global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, contactless payment adoption when compared to pre-COVID-19 will increase between 6% to 8% and forecasted to grow by 14% year-on-year.

Data driven solutions like Pixibo Contactless Try-On helps shoppers find the right fit without the fitting room. By keying in body metrics and indicating their fit preferences, shoppers can instantly get personalized size recommendations.
The pandemic has disrupted the retail industry significantly and its effects are likely here to stay. As more retail stores are reopening in the next few months, it will be interesting to see how retailers adapt to deliver a new experience with shopper safety in mind.

Pixibo is committed to guiding omnichannel retailers through uncertainty and helping them deliver a new experience with shopper safety in mind.

To learn more about Pixibo Contactless Try-On, speak to our sales consultant today.
Petra Ng is Pixibo's newest addition. She's part of the backstage crew behind all social media and marketing content. She's proud to bring to you the latest Pixibo updates and developments!