Table of contents(10 chapters)
This chapter provides an overview of the retail landscape during the pandemic, by showing facts and figures of consumers and Governments' containing measures in Europe. It further provides some guidelines and support for retailers to be more ready to react to the environmental changes, along five main areas: (1) rethinking the in-person experience, (2) enhancing digital channels for shopping, (3) investing in digital capabilities, (4) embracing agile and flexible approaches and (5) developing new retail business models. It finally concludes with a brief summary of the remaining chapters of the book.
Crisis can bring out the true nature of people. Also in terms of consumers, this can be for better or for worse. On the one hand, irresponsible consumer behaviours rose, with for example people starting to hoard bulk quantities of toilet paper, rice and flour, which in turn increased scarcity perceptions and induced fear in others. Besides panic buying, impulse purchasing also rose, as a means to alleviate negative feelings and to treat oneself (particularly once the stores reopened again). For some consumers, this increased buying can become compulsive, leading to shopping addiction and financial problems. On the other hand, the crisis also forced a pause in the rat race we live, allowing people to reconsider their consumption behaviour and evolve towards more sustainable choices. This chapter provides insights on both directions, allowing retail managers to incorporate this new reality in further strategic decisions. In what follows, three consecutive stages in notable changes in consumer behaviour in the pandemic crisis are discussed: from reacting (e.g. hoarding), over coping (e.g. do-it-yourself behaviours), to longer-term adapting (e.g. potentially transformative changes in consumption).
The proper identification of consumers' risk perception, fear and panic behaviour can help managers to limit consumers' irresponsible behaviour, develop safer shopping experiences and attract consumers to physical stores. Indeed, the risk of contagion might result in shopping anxiety and limit consumers' propensity to visit the physical stores. This chapter aims at supporting retailers by providing a deep understanding of how the uncertainty and risk perceptions coming from emergency awareness impacts consumers' behaviour. Attention is solicited towards new retail strategies and practices to mitigate these consequences.
Determining the right number of customers inside a store (i.e. human or customer density) plays a crucial role in retail management strategies. On the one hand, retailers want to maximize the number of visitors they attract in order to optimize returns and profits. On the other hand, ensuring a pleasurable, efficient and COVID-19-proof shopping experience, would go against an excessive concentration of shoppers. Fulfilling both retailer and consumer perspectives requires a delicate balance to be struck. This chapter aims at supporting retailers in making informed decisions, by clarifying the extent to which store layouts influence (perceived) consumer density. Specifically, the chapter illustrates how new technologies and methodologies (i.e. agent-based simulation) can help in predicting a store layout's ability to reduce consumers' perceived in-store spatial density and related perceptions of human crowding, while also ensuring a certain retailers' profitability.
In confining the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was key, with traditional, bricks-and-mortar retailing being shut-down for weeks, and have nearly universally moved into online channels. At the same time, online players have started to operate physical stores. This chapter provides an analysis of how COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of retailing, focusing on the shift towards the online and mobile shopping channel. On the basis of success stories and failures in retail business practice, lessons are distilled for developing effective future phygital scenarios.
This chapter provides an overview of technology management to support retailing, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, it focuses on the technologies developed and in use before the pandemic, the ones further developed as response to the pandemic, while the final part of the chapter proposes a new technology implementation process (cycle) to support retailers in introducing new technology. In particular, the process in based on seven main activities: (1) Technology need recognition; (2) Technology screening; (3) Initial development and testing; (4) Business analysis; (5) Technology development; (6) Market acceptance testing; and (7) Technology adoption, while monitoring and learning actions should occur constantly throughout the process to evaluate the benefit of the technology at each stage (or to discard for further investment).
Traditional sets of attributes characterizing shopping centres need to be updated to relate to new specific consumers' needs and choices, to ensure the survival of shopping centres. To this end, this chapter revisits shopping centres’ attributes in the light of consumers' choices of actual centres, taking into account the recent increasing role of technologies, leisure activities and changes in consumer behaviour. In doing so, we aim to improve perceptions of modernity and help to regenerate (or at least mitigate the decline of) shopping centres. Specifically, the new set of attributes include appearance (external appearance), convenience, entertainment and leisure activities, memorable experiences, green place and policy, image (modern image), price, service, size and technology.
After having drawn lessons from the recent COVID-19 pandemic for retailers in the previous chapters, in this last chapter we provide an outline on retailing over a longer time horizon. We start with projections of how the phygitalization trend in retailing will further evolve and what role data plays as a basis for a competitive advantage – on the condition of smart and ethical use. Besides looking at customers (downstream), we address the upstream in the value delivery network, focusing on how to succeed in balancing between efficiency and sustainability in the retail supply chain. Retailers face huge challenges. This chapter contributes to setting the scene for retailers to thrive in the brand-new post-pandemic aftermath.
- Publication date