How can retailers transform their strategies to thrive during the pandemic?

Young woman wearing protection face mask against coronavirus 2019 ncov pushing shopping cart min
2nd Dec 2020
Posted By Rhiannon Smith

The demise of the high street has been a topic on the lips of industry experts, news outlets and the public for quite some time now, and that was even before we were thrown into the middle of a global pandemic.

Right now is a difficult and saddening time for many in the retail industry, particularly with the recent news of the collapse of Debenhams and retail empire, Arcadia. Considering the effects of the past year on business and on the customer, it’s fair to say that there have been a lot of changes, with many more in time to come. However, there are still lots of retailers rising above their challenges and it doesn't seem we’ll be waving goodbye to the high street just yet!

Not only has CCM Creative worked with some of the big dogs in the retail world, but we actually have our very own e-commerce brand, Trusted PPE, under the consumer division of the group, CCM Axis. So, we’re pretty well versed when it comes to what’s going on in the retail industry, how to be reactive to the market and how to create the best consumer experience possible.

So, what have retail businesses been doing to try and battle the unusual circumstances and stay afloat?

With the pandemic in full swing, retail has had no choice but to undergo a pretty serious facelift over the past few months, implementing new processes and systems and shifting to a much more digital world to retain their loyal customers and reach out to new ones in an increasingly competitive market.

Taking Things Virtual

Over nine months into the Covid-19 era, we’ve pretty much become accustomed to the long queues outside the shops, people playing their very own supermarket sweep in case they can’t get back in again and following the government guidelines across the board. Furthermore, some retailers are doing everything they can to make all of this a little bit easier for shoppers.

Qudini John Lewis virtual queue 2 960x744

Take a look at John Lewis, for example. They’ve implemented a trial virtual queuing system where customers will be greeted at the door by a QR code. If it’s safe to enter, they can stroll on in, otherwise they will be placed into a virtual queue, receiving a time slot and a text when it’s clear for them to do their shopping! This concept could pleasantly ease pressures on the retailer’s staff and help ensure a relaxed and safe environment for all.

Collaboration to Deliver

Online shopping and home delivery isn’t particularly anything new! But, in the past few months it’s almost like it’s had a new lease of life, becoming integral to the lives of so many of us. Similarly, online grocery shopping has been around for quite some time too, but with the increased demand throughout the pandemic, it’s become one of the highest priorities on the agenda for retailers.

In May, the online grocery market was forecast to grow by 25.5% in 2020, due to the pandemic (GlobalData, 2020) and with many people reluctant or unable to leave their homes but to do their weekly food shopping, supermarkets have put their click and collect and delivery services on steroids.

So much so, that some retailers have actually joined forces with the aim of improving efficiency and service for customers. At the outset of the pandemic in March, Supermarket Morrisons teamed up with e-commerce champion Amazon to offer next-day delivery options to Amazon Prime members. Customers order their groceries via the Amazon website, and these are delivered to their doorstep the next day. Genius!

Gettyimages 823654384 sf

Buy Online, Return in Store (BORIS)

BORIS (no, we’re not talking about that Boris) is another handy way of getting customers on the retailer’s side by offering a simple and efficient returns process for online orders. Additionally, facilitating safe in-store returns allows for a further customer service touch point to reinforce the positive online shopping experience and upsell their services - ideally, resulting in repeat custom.

96% of consumers say they would be likely to give a retailer repeat business based on a good returns procedure.

With more and more hurdles cropping up for the industry (whether it’s competing with big box e-commerce companies or a worldwide pandemic), it is crucial, now more than ever, that retailers continue innovating to ensure a marketplace that is accessible, safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Our extensive warehouse facilities allow us to offer value added services to store and fulfil your products, meaning we can enable your business to provide an improved service for the end customer. Additionally, we utilise a slick ordering portal and automated response platform, leavening the pressure on you and offering guaranteed savings in time and money. Alternatively, if you’re looking to give your retail business a boost out of lockdown, we have highly experienced teams in marketing, design and print ready to support with new and exciting ideas to get business back up and running and remind your customers why they shopped with you in the first place. For more information on all our creative and fulfilment services, drop us a message at