Our retail image of the day – Wednesday 9th June

Today for our retail image of the day, we look at some elements of COVID19 that we’ll never see scenes in our lifetime (one hopes) of what we saw last March.

As COVID19 came to our shores, with retail stood up and delivered.

Whenever there’s a crisis, or a problem, retail finds a way. COVID19 was a great example of this.

I’ve often thought that the best retailers are the ones that solve the most problems for the customer.

Meal inspiration, money saving, quality product, no queues, car park spaces, trolleys that can fit the kids in, try before you buy and lots of new products (to name but a few) are examples of levers that the retailers can pull in order to solve problems for customers.

But how does your chosen retailer solve problems for you? Do they bring more problems for you when shopping? Poor availability = problem, I have to go elsewhere to complete my shop.

Not a great deal of innovation, or new products = I need some inspiration and want something new, and different. I’ll have to go elsewhere.

Innovation and new products – like these from M&S.

Value for money is a key problem that needs solving, daily.

Very few customers have so much money they don’t care how much something costs. Indeed, value for money becomes a different conundrum then, with quality product vital for affluent customers, more so than the pounds and pence element.

M&S COVID19 pandemic queue
Not that much of a queue, the local M&S ran at 10% of store capacity at the height of the pandemic.

But in peak COVID19 times; the problems to be solved were at their most basic, survival mode. Stock had to be shipped out, at a rapid rate and all the background planning for events, marketing, launches and the like was simply stopped.

It was like the old days, almost a ‘pure’ sense of retail, putting things on the shelf and seeing them sold at a rate of knots, by maskless customers(!) given that the mandate didn’t come down until later that Summer.

Temps were recruited at the speed of light and extra trucks were laid on left, right and centre to fulfil demand as the retailers navigated their way through crisis after crisis with the mere fabric of structure and control, all but gone.

Sick calls were rampant with colleagues either isolating or protecting family members, testing was non existent and customers were having to scramble to get hold of what stock they could.

The photographs and videos of panic buying were entirely unhelpful, serving to fan the flames further around shortages for the COVID19 pandemic.

I often take pictures of empty shelves in Sainsbury’s – but this was near dystopia.

As things moved along; social distancing measures were introduced to stores and capacities were sorely restricted, with queues outside the store a common scene… With distanced queues make things look even busier than they perhaps were.

A time that we’ll never forget, the heroes on the front line are quickly forgotten though, with attacks on shop workers rising once again.

For those hardy souls who were lost in the line of duty during the COVID19 pandemic, of which there were many more than perhaps appreciated.

May they rest in peace.

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