Speaking to Cash & Carry Management Magazine, John Kinney, sales & marketing director for Unitas Wholesale, has pointed to the key opportunities that independent retailers now have to build on the advantages gained as pillars of community support during pandemic emergency.
Need for delivery to continue
Having overcome the challenges of launching delivery services to support the vulnerable and self-isolating, independent retailers will have the opportunity to retain the loyalty and goodwill of these shoppers by maintaining these even as the lockdown progressively eases. Many shoppers will remain anxious about going into stores, even after infection rates have ebbed away. With retailers having successfully developed their communication networks through social media in the last three months, they now have the means to sustain and build ongoing engagement with shoppers beyond the physical store.
Wider market changes creating retail opportunities in ‘out-of-home’
Given the impact of lockdown on many parts of the established out-of-home sector, such as food to go specialists, cafes and the like, Kinney flagged that retailers will be well placed to fill gaps in these markets where some may not re-emerge post-COVID. Kinney commented: ‘As lockdown restrictions ease, many returning to work will find canteens and communal areas closed, so will need to buy lunch, snacks and coffee. Now is the time to focus on your food-to-go and snack offer. Make sure you communicate your offer via social media and outside your store to catch the attention of shoppers walking past.’