Whatever the coming weeks and months have in store for us, it’s clear that certain elements of the retail sector are never going to be the same again. Before the COVID-19 crisis, bricks and mortar retailers of all kinds were already experiencing difficulties due to the cost of high rates, dwindling footfall and the fast move to online shopping, but recent events are going to call for an entire sector re-think.

The fashion and beauty world is a clear example of how retailers are experiencing a huge change in consumer behaviour. Burberry is already reporting that in-store sales have fallen by 50%, and Next have warned of a significant sales drop this quarter, with boss Lord Wolfson saying “people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home.”

There could, however, be a silver lining for retail businesses that are already geared-up for ecommerce. In time, with more and more people remaining at home, and perhaps taking fewer foreign holidays, retailers involved in furniture, homewares and DIY may benefit from a surge of ongoing spending.

There’s nothing quite like being stuck at home all day to make you want to revamp your spare room or brighten up your kitchen. From getting a new desk to make working from home a little more comfortable, to that new slow cooker to help you finally master that stew you’ve always wanted to make, there’s plenty that retailers can be offering to help consumers spend their time in isolation a little more comfortably.

If you’ve not already invested in a smooth ecommerce user experience, now is the time to do so. Make sure that consumers can see your products in as few clicks as possible, with vibrant and engaging product descriptions to bring them to life.

It’s more important than ever to be clear about your delivery options, so make sure you have well-written copy on your site that explains how customers can get your products to their door – especially in light of the most recent social distancing measures. If you can offer delivery with minimal contact, such as leaving items in a safe place, talk about this loudly and clearly.

Consumer spending will drop, there’s no doubt about that. But if you can go the extra mile to show customers that you care about their safety and that you can still offer them the products they want, you’ll go a long way in setting up your brand for the weeks and months ahead. Remember, we don’t stop daydreaming just because we’re no longer out and about.

Give your customers the inspiration and tools that they need to create that home office or complete that DIY project they’ve been putting off. We all need to stay creative in times like these – make sure you and your customers do too.

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