How can fashion retailers engage shoppers post-lockdown?

How fashion retailers can jump-start in-store footfall in a post-lockdown world.

It’s official, the UK high street is finally open for business. And although footfall remains low at -49.8%, compared to the same period last year, it marks a significant improvement on figures at the height of lockdown at -80% (1)

Customer confidence has also improved three points over last week, from -30 to -27 (2). This may still seem relatively low, but it’s a good indicator of growing confidence after just one week of normality.

So, people are out on the high streets and getting more confident about shopping in the new normal. The next job for retailers, especially fashion, is balancing sanitised shopping with an enjoyable customer experience. Giving customers something they can’t get online and engaging shoppers post-lockdown.

Our recommendations how fashion retailers engage shoppers post-lockdown:

Re-invent queueing
With new capacity rules, there’s a high chance of queueing, especially on busy weekends in city centres. But this doesn’t have to be a daunting thought for customers:

  • Provide cover and protective garments like festival ponchos to shield people from bad weather
  • Make it less miserable and more engaging with entertainment in-queue – for example fashion giant Selfridges have delighted with live DJs (3)
  • Create ‘cut-the-queue’ click and collect lanes
  • Provide chat-bots to answer questions for customers and help wayfinding before they get to the front.

Embrace technology
We’ve seen a seismic shift to online shopping in lockdown, but technology can help in-store too:

  • The launch of Specsavers’ AI tool that lets customers try glasses before they buy has been a huge success. Why not invest in virtual changing rooms to limit contact? Amazon has been working on a way to help customers try on using their social media profiles
  • Another way to help customers find their size and buy, without changing rooms, is by using online data to create social proof. Zara’s website asks people to enter their measurements then informs them of the size most people like them bought and didn’t return, guiding them to the garment most likely to fit without ever trying on
  • If your changing rooms are open, ask customers to let you know the clothes they want to try on by reserving online before they arrive in-store 
  • Most shop floors create choice overload leading to increased browsing, meaning your customers are bound to touch products as they decide – and spend longer in-store. Scannable QR codes on items, activated using an app, can be really engaging in store and stop wandering hands
  • Some retailers have launched new products exclusively on their app. While this satisfies more nervous shoppers, it helps limit queuing and in-store footfall too (4) 
  • Switch to virtual personal shopping experiences, especially for initial conversations. 

Beautify the rules
We all know fashion is about aesthetics, that doesn’t need to stop at Covid-19: 

  • Customise your signage in your colour, graphics and tone to soften it – maybe even add a bit of humour like our behaviour-led covid-19 posters, still free to download
  • Make staying safe a pleasure, for example beautiful smelling sanitisers and stations that look like they were designed to fit in-store
  • Make the new normal feel normal by styling masks with mannequins and in your photography.

As a behavioural science-led agency, we’ve created a whole host of free webinars about engaging shoppers post-lockdown. Sign-up on our site or read our series of blogs about consumer habits, how they’ve changed during lockdown and the impact on brands.

New job in lockdown

By Ellen Jackson

Creative Copywriter