Even before the pandemic, the retail industry was in a state of disruption as consumers were increasingly buying online. Overnight, demand patterns shifted. In China the overall penetration increased by 15-20 percent (McKinsey), and in U.S. e-commerce jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before lockdown restrictions went into effect (Adobe, 2020 Digital Economy Index
). Retailers which only rely on customer footfall, are the ones most affected.
In the future, people will no longer visit stores unless they really want to. Brands must, therefore, find new ways to repurpose retail to what their customers are looking for.
The fact that our need for a larger scale of choice is offered online, has made that we’ve adapted to more personalized experiences in physical space. As retail stores will no longer drive the same scale of conversion, they must find a new purpose to why they exist. Those brands that are able to evolve to fit these new paradigms will not only thrive but also come out as leaders.