Almost a month on from the reopening of non-essential retail in the UK, shop footfall has not provided the boost that many retailers were hoping for.
Despite a minor increase of 15% in week-on-week footfall, new figures have revealed a 50% decline in footfall in the third week of physical retail post-lockdown, in comparison with the same week in 2019. Such low levels of footfall confirm the fears of languishing consumer confidence, both as a result of the ongoing pandemic and the consequential economic fallout.
The effect of “Super Saturday” on retail footfall was also underwhelming, with the reopening of pubs, cafés and other hospitality businesses only resulting in a modest 9% growth in retail footfall.
Retailers across the UK have adhered to the government’s guidelines in terms of maintaining social distancing in-store and providing hand sanitisers for customers, but few have made efforts to revitalise the shopping experience to attract customers amidst the pandemic.
With these statistics in mind, CEO of Ubamarket, Will Broome, comments on the state of the UK’s retail sector and discusses how retailers must transform their operations to get customers back in-store:
“The statistics have made it very clear that whilst the retail sector has experienced a gradual increase in footfall over the past few weeks, consumer confidence is still extremely low. It’s great to see that retailers are doing a good job of upholding government guidelines and adhering to social distancing and hygiene measures in-store, but this is simply not enough to inspire customers to risk heading back to the high-street or shopping centre.
In order to entice customers back in-store, retailers must accept that the landscape has completely changed, and hygiene is only one of the concerns. As a result, the whole shopping experience must be revitalised and transformed, to allow for increased hygiene and safety measures, but also addressing concerns around convenience, personalisation and ease of the consumer experience.
Retail technology is one option which offers a solution to a number of these challenges, enabling retailers to easily uphold safety guidelines whilst also hyper personalising and improving the convenience of the in-store experience.”
Read more business-related articles in our dedicated section here.