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The new normal in retail: why the focus should be on customer experience

By Partner


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The coronavirus crisis has forced many fashion companies to transform their business, particularly within the retail industry where things have been shaken up. One thing is clear: retailers have been forced to become extremely flexible and the need to innovate and digitise has never been greater. Will the way we shop go back to the way it was - and if so, what does that mean?

Physical shops will continue to play a significant role in the future of retail. However, whether everything will go back to how it was before the pandemic is certainly questionable. Leading research firm McKinsey states in a report that consumer behaviour has changed forever. We have had to reinvent the concept of shopping, with adjustments ranging from strict hygiene measures to longer opening hours to avoid crowded shop floors. To be future-proof, McKinsey argues that retailers need to focus even more on a seamless omnichannel experience.

Customer experience is key

What does retailing look like in 'the new normal'? First of all, it is crucial for retailers to get their brand message across to shoppers in the right way. The customer experience is central. The design and layout of a shop are key in this respect. Checkpoint Systems supports retailers in dealing with these rapid changes, including in the area of display compliance. This means that all existing displays are correctly positioned in the shop and that all shelves must remain well stocked. After all, you can only sell a product if it is visible in the shop.

On an average shopping day, it can of course happen that there are 'gaps' on the shelves during the day. For example, if customers buy or try on merchandise and then put them back in the wrong place. Howver, this causes a missed opportunity to attract the attention of the consumer.

Save time with RFID

To optimise the customer experience, retailers are increasingly turning to RFID, or radio frequency identification. As a one-stop-shop for technologically advanced retail solutions, Checkpoint Systems provides fashion companies with this technology. Display compliance is a simple application of RFID that allows retailers to achieve rapid success. For example, it allows them to scan a display and instantly compare it to the original shelf plan. This is a handy tool to ensure that the display is properly compliant, while at the same time saving a lot of time. Shop staff are also able to locate any item in stock easily thanks to RFID technology. This leaves them with time to spend on service and improving the shopping experience.

Attractive shopping environment

In addition to leveraging technology, retailers should rethink their brand mix and assortment. According to McKinsey, the pandemic has caused loyalty shifts, with trusted A-brands and local brands emerging as winners in the post-pandemic era. Simplifying the SKUs is also advisable. At the height of the pandemic, when logistics were a challenge for many companies, many retailers made a profit with fewer items on the shelves - an attractive proposition that is likely to continue to be successful. What we have seen is that while consumers appreciate having plenty of choice, they also appreciate being able to find what they are looking for easily and quickly - an experience that is lost as more products appear on the shelves. In short, effective shop design is essential to engaging with consumers and building long-term relationships.

About Checkpoint Systems

Checkpoint Systems is a global leader in shrink prevention for retail. The company provides smart solutions that deliver clarity and efficiency anytime, anywhere. These solutions build on 50 years of expertise in radio frequency technology, innovative theft and theft prevention systems, industry-leading software, RFID hardware and comprehensive labeling solutions to identify, secure and track items from source to shelf. For more information, please visit: www.checkpointsystems.com

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