The latest ONS retail figures have seen the biggest monthly fall since January, pointing to the likely impacts of self-isolation numbers combined with wetter weather.
Retail sales falling by 2.5% in July is undoubtedly disappointing, but we must remember we are not free from the impacts of the pandemic just yet. The ‘pingdemic’, which has seen thousands of people – both shopworkers and consumers – having to self-isolate, put a strain on retail stores, and many shifted back to shopping online.
New COVID-19 variants are also a concern for many, and consumer confidence dropped by one point to –8 in August. Retailers have to err on the side of caution and understand the new unpredictable retail landscape in order to survive. The priority now should be enticing customers back by offering seamless experiences across all channels. Great experiences with brands are what consumers will remember, and will make them come back time and time again.
To build figures back up, retailers need to prioritise the customer experience – creating memorable moments for consumers both in-store and online. Brands need to act agilely and adapt quickly to remain competitive in the ever-changing market, while continuing to provide customers with more human experiences anchored in empathy.