The retail sector in Ireland must scale up its digital capabilities ahead of re-opening during the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic if it is to attract people back to brick and mortar stores quickly, according to leading shopper engagement agency Velocity Worldwide.
In a survey of over 1000 Irish consumers, the company found that 69 percent of shoppers would come back to physical stores from December 1st if they could reserve a slot to shop.
Responses to the questionnaire revealed that it is imperative that retail destinations are able to report on live store queue times in order to motivate people to physically come in to shop regularly at their destinations.
The research also highlighted that feeling safe while shopping was the most important priority for shoppers when in both the high street and shopping centres. The next most important consideration for consumers was being able to find out that the products they are looking for are available in store in advance of their shopping trip, to encourage them not to simply shop online.
Over 65 percent said that queuing has put them off shopping in a particular store and 73 percent would use click and collect now if they could book a slot to collect their items.
Velocity Worldwide is a customer engagement specialist that develops personalisation and insight technologies designed to grow retail businesses. With offices in New York, London, Belfast and throughout the UK, the company has delivered a combination of creative marketing and retail technology services through its proprietary platform Darius for Retail, which is designed to generate revenue and build a better customer experience.
This month, Velocity has launched Darius-Q, an advanced reservations app for shopping malls and retail brands, which is designed to reduce queue times for shoppers, regulate visitor numbers, help retailers with track and trace and increase the amount of time and money shoppers spend in stores.
Enda McShane, CEO, Velocity Worldwide, said:
“The global pandemic has escalated a path that shoppers were already on towards a physical shopping experience with supporting digital capabilities. What we have seen in the last few months is that the retailers who are investing in this space now and preparing for their re-opening are the ones who are going to be in the strongest position during the recovery phase. Shoppers need some certainty that physical stores will re-open and that they can go shopping. Advanced reservations will offer this to shoppers so retailers must act now.
“This Christmas is going to make or break a lot of retailers, and in order to reclaim lost footfall, shopping centres, supermarkets and retail brands need to take the uncertainty out of the physical shopping experience. Queues are set to be one of the biggest barriers and by offering customers the option to reserve and plan their shopping trip in advance, they will provide the security that many shoppers want in order to visit physical stores.”
Enda added: “A scheme launched by Dublin’s Enterprise Office recognises the need for digital investment in retail. Through the trading online voucher funding of up to €2500 is available to businesses with limited or no existing online presence including implementing online payments or booking systems, which DariusQ delivers on.
“A number of our shopping centre clients – including large portfolio clients like Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) – have listened to our research and have already adopted our queue management products across many of their centres, to ensure they can respond to this requirement by providing a simple and safe physical shopping experience. They also recognise that things that were initially deemed temporary because of Covid, will now become permanent because shoppers have responded well to new digital services in their physical retail locations.”