In the last two years we have seen how the Covid pandemic has changed our lives. Almost all of us – even if perhaps only for a specific period of time – had to change the way we relate to each other, the way we work and even the way we consume in the traditional shop. Some of these changes are here to stay: face masks, gels, social distance, limited seating or things like booking at the restaurant where we used to always find a table.
In the case of shops, the adaptation was as abrupt as the anticovid measures. But among these uncertainties, there are two key factors: first, at a basic level, security. And the second, at a more creative level, is communication. Both factors are vital to understand and empathise with the new consumer. They are the lines that mark the success of the physical shop in the context of the pandemic.
Security in the shop: much needed
Covid has reminded us that we are vulnerable and that it is necessary to comply with a series of hygiene habits to guarantee everyone’s health. Keeping a distance between people, the use of masks and hydrogels, and the cleaning and ventilation of spaces are guidelines that have become daily practice.
With them, we ensure that our shop is a safe space for our customers and employees. For this reason, it is very important that the customer perceives, as soon as he enters our physical shop or approaches our stand at a trade fair, that our space is safe and clean. Even if the “anticovid” measures are no longer needs, we must not forget this.
For example, making hydroalcoholic gel available to customers near the entrance (with an elegant and spotless dispenser) can be an opportunity not only to comply with hygiene protocols, but also to offer them a pleasant memory through the senses. How many times have you entered a shop and regretted putting on a gel with a strange texture and an unbearable smell? Why not stand out from the competition and offer a gel with an original and attractive fragrance, which connects with the spirit of your shop and your professional brand?
On the other hand, the presentation of products and our own clothing can add (or subtract) points in favour of the image of security that we want to convey. We are now more sensitive to product clutter, crowds of people and staff who neglect their own hygiene.
Empathy as a value generator
We know that price continues to be one of the determining factors. That is why we now plan more our purchases , prioritise standards and spend less and less time in shops. In fact, we are now more demanding.
Once again, we must put ourselves in the customer’s shoes: What are the customer’s concerns?
The feeling of fear, uncertainty or sadness is still very present globally. And this situation, to a greater or lesser degree, conditions the present and the future. Does our shop, product or service take this into account?
This is where we find another key factor: empathy in communication (not to be confused with sympathy): can our customers forget, even for a moment, this sad pandemic context and find joy in our shop?
This is where the shop must make a clear commitment to creativity, generating added value through the senses and the shopping experience, something that cannot be found elsewhere or in an online shop.
The colours and the arrangement of the products play an important role here: does my shop play with neutral colours or does it seek to go further and transmit energy? Do I have a corner where my customers can be inspired, relax or feel free from guilt? These are psychological factors that require us to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes, but we can start by adapting from our own experience. Have you ever walked into a shop and been noticed for forgetting to put your face mask or hydrogel on? How did you feel, how would you have handled it, how would you have handled it? Or on the other hand, do you remember a shop where you were told that everything was going to be fine? Have you ever been able to sit inside, take a break and switch off from the hustle and bustle of shopping? Thinking about our customers makes them spend more time in our shop, feel loved and buy more.
On the other hand, social commitment and sustainability are prominent factors and a decision factor for more and more people. Here craftsmanship and local products have their best trump card against multinational industries. More energy savings, less waste and less environmental impact. And all of this, with the added quality of handmade products 😉
The shop as an inspirational space… instagrammable
All this effort to adapt to the demands of the new customer profile must have its reward. The most immediate reward is being shared and quoted. Social networks are undoubtedly the best ally to make ourselves known and to be recommended. So why not have an eye-catching space or element for our clients to share? Be creative. From phrases with neon lights to full-colour shop windows, bags with inspirational phrases or display cases with products that combine colours, elegant and spacious fitting rooms where you can take a photo in front of the mirror to temporary exhibitions or presentations of new products,… Although experiences are lived individually, they can always be shared. That is why it is important that your physical shop conveys joy, that it is alive, that it is innovative and that the customer leaves with a good memory.
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