Due to a national state of emergency many businesses, especially those in the retail sector, are facing an uncertain few months. However, businesses that also offer a mail order service are still able to trade, and many solution providers are taking steps to help businesses adapt their business model to survive the Covid-19 situation. All the businesses that survive are likely to benefit from the post-quarantine period, as people that have been self-isolating or going out as little as possible suddenly have the ability (and the desire) to get back out in the world.

Below we look at retail developments for March, as well as some of opportunities available to retailers.

Aldi announces bonuses and enforces social distancing

From the 9th March until the end of April 2020, over 3,800 Aldi employees will receive a 10% bonus on their normal rate of pay. This is generous from Ireland’s leading supermarket and should probably come as no surprise, as Aldi were also the first to introduce the Living Wage of 12.30 euros per hour as their entry level of pay.

They are also bringing in social distancing measures in their stores nationwide. The measures will include marking on the floor for queuing and in-store posters with instruction on social distancing. Between 11am and 1pm will also be a priority time for the elderly and vulnerable, and they’ve asked shoppers to bear this in mind when planning their own shopping trips.

Lands’ End and Kohl’s new partnership

The entire range of Lands’ End kids, men’s, women’s and home goods will soon be available on Kohl’s.com. The partnership will also see Lands’ End opening concessions (a shop-in-shop arrangement) at over 150 of Kohl’s stores. Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, says “Lands’ End brings its strong brand recognition, leadership in casual style and fit authority, and gives new and existing customers something to discover at Kohl’s.”

Grocery stores, pharmacies and supermarkets get free access to FutureProof Retail’s solution

FutureProof Retail created a mobile checkout solution that will help with social distancing. It allows customers to scan and pay for objects using their mobile phones. This removes the need for cashiers to handle customers’ items and cash and removes the need to stand in line waiting to pay. They will be offering their solution to companies serving the community for as long as the national emergency lasts.

“Because of its potential public health benefits, we are offering our basic service for free during the current state of emergency,” says Will Hogben, FutureProof Retail CEO. “The more stores we can enable, the more people will avoid checkout lines, reducing stress on the stores and community.”

Retailers can use their own branding on the Express Checkout app, and deployment can be achieved in a matter of days. It also supports importing products and prices using a CSV file, speeding up the process of implementation. This kind of technology will increasingly be part of commercial shop fit outs.

Technology continues to improve the customer’s experience

Checkpoint Systems InterACT Fitting Room solution will be installed in JCPenney’s store in Hurst, Texas initially. However, this technology is becoming more accessible and will grow in popularity. It allows customers already in the dressing room to check for different sizes and colours, access detailed product information, receive product recommendations, and interact with assistants.

“Checkpoint’s focus is on improving the customer experience for shoppers,” says Alan Tamny, senior national account manager for Checkpoint Systems. “We are very excited to be partnering with JCPenney as they kick off their transformation. The new store is remarkable in every way, and we are happy to contribute and showcase Penney’s to their customers.”

Early customer research has provided positive feedback about the system and we expect to see solutions of this nature appearing in a lot more retailers over the coming year or two.

Peloton opening biggest physical studio

We’ve all seen the Peloton adverts, but they’re not just for fitness in your home. Their biggest physical studio is due to open in Manhattan, New York. The 35,000 sq. ft. space will be made up of two floors of studio and multimedia space, as well as 1,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The studios won’t just be for cycling, but will also include running, yoga, and a dedicated swing studio. Peloton members will be able to take classes and buy products.

While New York is a bit far to go for a workout, there will be one opening this side of the Atlantic in approximately 6-months. However, the new store will be in Covent Garden, London, which is still a little far for a workout, but within reach if you’re a major fan or just in the neighbourhood.

Amazon’s checkout free technology gets a boost

OTG, the hospitality group, will start using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in CIBO Express Gourmet Markets at airports. It allows travellers to enter the store with their card, grab the items they want and just walk out with them. The stores offer a range of products, including fresh foods, health and beauty products, and electronics.

Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology at Amazon says,“We’ve found that shoppers truly appreciate checkout-free retail experiences, so we’re thrilled to be working with an innovative company like OTG to bring our proven Just Walk Out technology to their airport stores,”.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology has proved popular with shoppers, reducing the amount of time they need to spend in stores. The checkout free retail experience is becoming increasingly popular with consumers and is something we expect to see more of in the near future.

Trust Storebest to deliver your perfect space

Storebest are leading commercial shopfitters based in Dublin. We can draw on more than 35-years’ experience and exceptional industry knowledge to design your perfect interior. Our team of highly qualified professionals create designs to grow your business and realise the full potential of your space. Our experience means we are well versed with all aspects of design, which allows us to execute your project seamlessly, whatever your budget.