COVID-19 has rocked many industries this year, but few as much as retail. Online shopping has suffered heavily with the Government enforced lockdowns allowing only essential stores to stay open, while even outside of these lockdowns, stores have suffered mightily with people hesitant to shop in-store while the threat of the virus remains.
A Challenging Year
It has been a devastating year for brick and mortar stores with many being forced to close for good as they struggle to stay open as a result of the pandemic. For those that have managed to remain open, it has been an extremely challenging year due to the restrictions, having to adapt to create COVID-secure stores and low consumer confidence.
As a result of this, ecommerce has skyrocketed which is hardly surprising when people are spending much more time at home and the fact that it does not involve any human interaction. Ecommerce has been steadily rising for many years and was already disrupting the high street, but the pandemic has been a hammer blow for retailers while ecommerce has thrived.
Keeping Up With Demand
The surge in online shopping is welcomed by ecommerce stores, especially when so many other industries are struggling during this challenging time. Parcel2Go’s Head of Commercial commented on the sharp rise in ecommerce and the impact the this has had on shipping operations:
“Since the COVID-19 Pandemic Parcel2Go has seen an incredible surge in demand. As consumers have been home bound, there has been a surge in online purchases via retailers & marketplaces, as well as people sending items to loved ones. As a result, more & more people & SME’s have been looking for shipping solutions which met their needs.”
Light at the End of the Tunnel
So, where does this leave traditional stores? While it is obviously a worrying time, there is light at the end of the tunnel and there could be a resurgence on the high street over the coming years.
The recent news about vaccine development will certainly be welcome in the retail industry as this could see things slowly start to return to normal and give consumers more confidence. Additionally, many experts believe that consumers will be eager to return to the high street and enjoy the social aspect that it can bring and this is something that retailers should be looking to embrace, such as with in-store events. In the meantime, stores need to do all that they can to make people feel safe and in addition to social distancing, this seems to include zero human interaction so businesses need to have these payment solutions in place.
It has been a devastating year for retail stores, but there is light at the end of the tunnel for those that are able to adapt to the new normal.