Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened sensitivity regarding personal interactions in the built environment. Consumers understand that we are all vulnerable, and will look to brands and the roles they play in the retail setting to keep everyone healthy. Ongoing expectations for our environments will be clean and simple. Our sense of personal space may be different and could have an impact on settings with crowds and tight spaces.
Part C – Authenticity = Loyalty
During the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, there will be an expectation for brand authenticity and positive experiences. Consumers will stick with and reward brands that “do the right thing”, including using resources to help communities in need. A brand’s longevity may be affected by what actions they took during this pandemic and the way that companies handle their employees, customers, and communities will leave lasting impressions in consumers’ minds.
Retail: Burberry, Louis Vuitton & Gucci shift production to make face masks for medical workers Learn more →
Health & Wellbeing: Indie beauty brands Goop, Wander Beauty and Indie Lee shift to mental health content during COVID-19 crisis Learn more →
Retail: The luxury conglomerate, LVMH, will use its perfume factories to produce hand sanitizer Learn more→
Fashion: US Shoe company Allbirds offers free shoes to medical workers and splits costs with you to donate more Learn more→
Transportation: US e-bike renting app, Wheels, launches e-bikes with self-cleaning handlebars and brake levers Learn more →
Food & Beverage: Miller Lite Virtual Tip Jar raises money for bartenders during coronavirus pandemic Learn more →
Marketing: Brands redesign their logos to promote social distancing and encourage people to stay home Learn more→
Marketing: New website, Did They Help, aimed at identifying the positive or negative consumer perception of brands in light of the COVID-19 pandemic Learn more→
Design Thinking for the New Normal.
As our reliance on digital communication grows due to continued social distancing, how can brands begin to leverage those digital touchpoints to engage with a new audience? Increased time spent using social media, gaming, in-home apps, and live-streaming platforms is providing opportunities to connect with an audience who is paying attention. Within the physical environment, consumer expectations will change as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and customers will be looking for a reaction from the industry to ensure they are entering a healthy environment. This “New Normal” requires brands to innovate their operations to adapt to customers that want positive experiences and authentic messaging. Did your brand “do the right thing?” Can you alter your products, services, and retail environment to serve the greater good?
COVID-19 Impact on the Retail Experience
The retail customer journey as we know it will have long-lasting implications from the coronavirus pandemic. As seen in the below diagram, the impact extends well beyond the physical environment and affects the way that brands communicate with the public in the digital realm. These digital interactions must become more humanized to compensate for the social distancing occurring in the physical world. Brands have an opportunity to not only create new and lasting connections with customers but also an inherent responsibility to integrate ambient wellness within their physical environments and overall messaging as a response to COVID-19.
How is your brand adapting?
In this new normal, positive customer engagement in and outside of the retail setting is critical. How is your customer journey affected by COVID-19? Let’s connect and discuss your brand’s retail touchpoints to see how you can further engage your customers in a post-corona world.