The seismic shifts in societal norms that have occurred in the last few months aren’t going anywhere soon. The traditional office environment is kaput. The allure of live sporting events has evaporated for most. Sweating it out at the gym with 200 strangers is no longer appealing.
When it comes to retail, shopping excursions are now lumped into two categories – “essential” and “non-essential.” Consumers must decide whether it is worth the risk (and inconvenience) of venturing out to retail stores in our current situation. In response, consumers have embraced online shopping, curbside pickup, and other delivery mechanisms in droves, and will continue to do so.
In the Brave New World of Retail, Consumer Health and Safety are Paramount
As retail stores reopen, consumers are returning with a specific purpose in mind, rather than browsing. Presently, shopping in-person is seldom a leisure-activity but rather purpose-driven. Consumers view shopping experiences and interactions in brick-and-mortar retail environments as riskier than before so retailers need to be prepared to deliver retail experiences that limit face-to-face interactions and provide alternative product exploration options.
Looking on the bright side, there is a silver lining for retailers and B2C brands in our new normal. B2C brands that take health and safety precautions seriously stand to benefit at the expense of their competition and curry favor with consumers.
Recent survey findings from IPSOS support this assertion:
- 62% of consumers would stop shopping at a retailer that is not taking health and safety seriously. Click here for survey overview.
- 82% of consumers are concerned that relaxed health & safety protocols at brick-and-mortar retail will lead to COVID. Click here for survey overview.
- 94% of consumers say that “stores that are doing a good job in health and safety compliance will earn my business.”
- Trust is highest among retailers that are making visible efforts in their stores to implement health and safety protocols.
- Pharmacy ranks second on trust, whereas wireless stores, quick service restaurants, and gas stations are ranked lowest on both trust and implementation.
The Risk of Being Viewed as “Unsafe”
In these low-ranking industries, the business value of implementing effective and visible health and safety precautions is highest. Brands that do so can differentiate their shopping experience and win long-term consumer loyalty at the expense of competitors that are unable or unwilling to respond to shifting consumer sentiment.
To enable mobile operators and other wireless retailers gain this competitive advantage, Smith Micro recently enhanced its ViewSpot® smart retail platform with touchless functionality. This patent-pending technology facilitates a touch-free shopping experience by enabling contactless interactions with devices running in-store demos. Devices using ViewSpot® will also now display dynamic on-screen sanitization notifications to let shoppers know if a device is safe to touch.
When implemented alongside government-recommended health and safety precautions, this new technology can help wireless retailers deliver in-store shopping experiences that rebuild trust and subscriber loyalty. Click here to learn more about ViewSpot’s new touchless features set.