Shopping habits will be different

[11 December] Non-essential retail has been permitted to reopen following NI’s circuit breaker, and with only 13 shopping days until Christmas, the pressure is on. December sales are the profit that sees many businesses through tough months in the new year, so losing a proportion of sales was always going to be a challenge. As they welcome shoppers back, there are things retailers can do to make the experience more enjoyable for all. Covid Ambassadors will also be on hand across Belfast, helping make shopping straightforward and safer for everyone.

Some retailers are already planning longer opening hours, with Primark at the Abbeycentre open for 33 hours straight. In addition, several local councils have agreed to relax the rules around Sunday trading hours. Larger stores in Mid and East Antrim and Antrim and Newtownabbey Council areas are amongst those planning to open from 10am on Sundays in the weeks before Christmas, and into January.

Instore behaviour will change

How we behave in stores is also likely to have changed. According to Retail Week, Professor Lucy Yardley, one of the government’s scientific advisers, has recommended that shoppers spend no longer than 15 minutes browsing items in store. We’ve also become less tactile while shopping, only tending to touch items that we are going to purchase. This combines to make it difficult to discover the right product to purchase, so brands have an opportunity to make it easier for shoppers with gift guides or in-store video walkthroughs.

Safety concerns should also be addressed by retailers. Many have implemented automatic entry systems or have staff to greet customers, however according to a Deloitte Covid-19 Tracker, while 53% of people in the UK feel safe going to a shop, the number is declining.

Prime gift buyers with DOOH

Of course, Out of Home is very well placed to target shoppers, with Digital and classic formats popular across high streets and in shopping centres. Digital Screens in particular will be strong in delivering multiple messages to audiences in a range of touchpoints, for example on route to a shopping location could be a preparation message, while store proximity screens could deliver multiple creatives highlighting various gift options. With up to 10 creative executions on rotation as standard on campaigns, Digital OOH works incredibly hard for the investment, effectively reaching a broad range of consumers with a single booking.