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Kooomo News - 5 things we have learned since retail stores re-opened

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5 things we have learned since retail stores re-opened
With bricks and mortar shops reopening their doors across the UK and Ireland what does it mean for eCommerce?

Normality is finally feeling within grasp with bricks and mortar shops reopening their doors in April and May across the UK and Ireland. eCommerce stepped up to the plate in 2020 as restrictions lead to shopping from home. Now that consumers are returning to the high street, what does it mean for eCommerce? How can retailers tackle new multichannel shopping habits? Is the thirst for real-life experiences enough to draw people away from the digital check-out?

Here’s what we have learnt since retail stores reopened:

1. Re-imaging store roles Omnichannel is a must
 Retailers are now reimagining their stores’ inline new consumer habits, and CX has fast become a key differentiator from competitors - with self-service, appointment shopping and click and collect front and centre. 

2. Fashion is on the rise as people socialise again
Consumers are also likely to have taken to the streets for their gifting needs as online gift buying was down 40% this June compared to its 90% growth in 2020. In Ireland, Bank of Ireland debit card data reveals a spike in social spending in May as consumers flocked to clothes shops, barbers and beauty salons and are now just 1% below pre-Covid levels. Spending on clothes rocketed by 56% as people availed themselves of popular shopping outlets opening their doors once again.

3. Home furnishing has taken a back seat. 
According to IMRG, homeware, in particular, saw the biggest drop in purchases of -22% compared to its 100% growth in Jue of last year. Electricals have also seen a 9% dip at the same time last year.  Firstly, we can assume that, as normality returns, consumers are prioritising social spending over home furnishing. 

4. Local stores performing well
 Charity shops are also thriving with built-up donations, more footfall on the streets and an increase in eco-awareness. Consumers are now likely to consider ethical and sustainability issues while shopping, with 1 in 3 refraining from purchasing certain brands due to related concerns. The suburbs are the envy of city centres as commuters return at a slow pace and localism is at an all-time high.

5. A dip in retail spending is on the way.

As people have increased options on which to spend their money, spending in certain industries will fluctuate - particularly, in Ireland as we await further sections of hospitality and travel to reopen. A surge in pent up consumer demand, as well as savings, would, without a doubt result in a strong initial performance - therefore, a dip to some degree is inevitable. Even with a reduction in retail spending forecast, KBC has theorised that Irish consumers are becoming less concerned about their current circumstances as well as less fearful about the future.

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